Gov. Davis urges refiners be exempted from California outages

California Gov. Gray Davis said Friday he has urged the Public Utilities Commission to exempt the state's refineries from rotating electrical outages this summer. Several of California's 12 refineries had petitioned the PUC for waivers after the commission did not give them automatic exemptions.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, June 8 -- California Gov. Gray Davis said Friday he has urged Public Utilities Commission President Loretta Lynch to exempt the state's refineries from rotating electrical outages this summer.

In recent weeks several of California's 12 refineries had petitioned the PUC for waivers, after a commission rule in April failed to give them automatic exemptions from blackouts. The PUC is expected to make a preliminary decision on the applications by July 10.

Davis wrote, "The California Energy Commission, in their submittals to you, has pointed out that petroleum refineries are very sensitive to electricity curtailments. Even a brief disruption of electricity can force a refinery into total shutdown for weeks. As a result of curtailment, the production and supply of critical petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels can be jeopardized for several weeks.

"Current supplies of petroleum fuels are very tight. The outlook for gasoline supplies this summer is a major concern. Federal Environmental Protection Agency's minimum oxygen requirements for gasoline in California could also result in further reductions supply and higher prices for gasoline in the near future.

"The availability of petroleum-derived transportation fuels is critical to the public health and safety of Californians. Public safety agencies such as law enforcement, emergency medical care responders and the military all rely on these fuels. Without petroleum fuels, the ability of these essential-use customers to perform their critical functions would be seriously impaired.

"In addition, as an industry, California's refineries are net producers of much needed electricity. Shutting down these facilities during rotating outages contributes to an even tighter electrical supply that should be avoided," Davis said.

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