California narrowly averts rolling blackouts

California narrowly averted rolling electricity blackouts Thursday as 2,000 Mw became available through conservation and from the California Department of Water Resources. Jim Detmers, managing director of grid operations for the California Independent System Operator, said conservation and reduced consumption by California state facilities helped ease the crisis. The Water Resources Department shut off pumps and went to the �extreme� to provide additional power, Detmers said.


California narrowly averted rolling electricity blackouts Thursday as 2,000 Mw became available through conservation and from the California Department of Water Resources.

Jim Detmers, managing director of grid operations for the California Independent System Operator, said conservation and reduced consumption by California state facilities helped ease the crisis. The Water Resources department shut off pumps and went to the "extreme" to provide additional power, Detmers said.

He also said power was sent from Oregon and Washington. Usually, there is about 1,500 Mw of power loaded on the California/Oregon interconnect but by late afternoon the load was running at 4,200 Mw, he said.

The ISO declared a Stage 3 electrical emergency Thursday morning as its load forecast was greater than available resources. Unless the shortage could be made up, the Stage 3 meant the ISO would request utilities to cut off power to customers in a series of rotating blackouts.

As much as 15,000 Mw, or one-third of the state's generation capacity, was off line because of unexpected problems.

The generation outages continued Friday morning. The ISO issued a 'Power Watch Day' calling for continued conservation during peak times on Friday. Detmers said a Stage 2, signifying reserves are below 5%, will be in effect, but did not know if Stage 3 conditions would be reached again.

The tight generation supply will be relieved over the weekend as 6,000 Mw are anticipated to return to service. A 2,000 Mw nuclear power plant will also return to full power as a winter storm subsides.

More in Home