Limited imports, transmission hamper California market

California remained in the highest state of emergency Monday but no outages were expected. The problem continues to be centered in northern California because of limited imports from the Northwest, energy officials said during an afternoon briefing. Congestion on transmission lines in the middle of the state also remains a problem.


California remained in the highest state of emergency Monday but no outages were expected.

The problem continues to be centered in northern California because of limited imports from the Northwest, energy officials said during a midafternoon briefing. Congestion on transmission lines in the middle of the state also remains a problem.

Generation resources in the south cannot be drawn up to the North where they are most needed without overloading that path, said Kellan Fluckiger, chief operating officer for the California Independent System Operator (ISO).

Interruptible load remains off line in northern California, while it has been restored in the south, he says.

�Resources have been tapped out in the North,� says Fluckiger. �And 4 more hours of interruption and the interruptible contracts up there will expire.�

This means utilities can�t call on certain businesses to shut off power during times of short supply, often the prelude of a full fledged emergency when involuntary outages occur. Interruptible customers volunteered for this status in return for a lower electricity tariff.

Fluckiger was unable to assess the impact of the expiration of those contracts given the tight electricity market. About 7,500 Mw remain out of service.

Imports to northern California from the Northwest are limited because of water conditions and increased demand in that area. California is currently importing about 3,000 Mw from the Northwest, the maximum presently available. During peak use periods, California usually gets 5,0000-6,000 Mw from the Northwest.

ISO officials are optimistic that conditions will improve during the week, if no other major generating plants go off line and 1,100 Mw come back online in the North.

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