California blackouts projected to last most of Tuesday

With Californians conserving less and electricity imports down, the California grid operator expects to continue expanding its call for rotating outages throughout most of Tuesday, for the second day in a row. Patrick Dorinson, spokesman for the California Independent System Operator, said at a 10:30 a.m. PST briefing Tuesday, the ISO expects to increase outages to 1,000 Mw at noon, rising to 2,000 Mw at 7 p.m. and back down to 1,000 Mw by 8 p.m.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Mar. 20�With Californians conserving less and electricity imports down, the California grid operator expects to continue expanding its call for rotating outages throughout most of Tuesday, for the second day in a row.

Patrick Dorinson, spokesman for the California Independent System Operator, said at a 10:30 a.m. PST briefing Tuesday, the ISO expects to increase outages to 1,000 Mw at noon, rising to 2,000 Mw at 7 p.m., and back down to 1,000 Mw by 8 p.m.

"Clearly it looks like rotating outages throughout the day," he said.

Dorinson said imports are down by 800 Mw from what they normally would be this time of year, and Californians are not conserving like they did in December and January.

"It just means that much more outages," Dorinson said.

Early Tuesday, the ISO initially requested the state's utilities to curtail 500 Mw affecting northern and southern parts of the state. The grid operator said more than 12,000 Mw are still off line due to planned and unplanned outages. In addition, more than half the state's qualifying facilities�small generators such as wind units and cogenerators�are not operating because of financial concerns, low wind, or the inability to pay for natural gas to run the plants.

"If we had the QFs back, we wouldn't have this situation," Dorinson said.

The grid operator is projecting a peak load of 29,952 Mw Tuesday and called for conservation to reduce demand. Voluntary load reduction programs were activated in the morning.

Monday, the grid operator called for rolling blackouts at 11:45 a.m., which also affected all parts of the state and lasted until 7 p.m.

Overall, electrical service was temporarily interrupted for more than 400,000 Southern California Edison Co. customers in portions of communities across its service area for up to 1 hour. Customers of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. were affected as well.

As of 4:30 p.m. Monday San Diego Gas & Electric said electric service to virtually all its customers had been restored.

The rotating outages lasted about 60-90 minutes each and, at the Monday peak shortly after 12:30 p.m., affected approximately 80,000 of the more than 1.2 million electric customers served by SDG&E.

The company's share of the statewide electric curtailment ranged between 59-74 Mw of power, less than 3% of SDG&E's current electric demand.

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