POWER SHORTAGE LOOMING SUMMER BLACKOUTS FEARED.Byline: Charles F. Bostwick Staff Write
PALMDALE - Much of Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, could be at risk for rolling blackouts Rolling blackout refers to an intentionally-engineered electrical power outage, caused by insufficient available resources to meet prevailing demand for electricity. For information about accidental blackouts that are not intentionally engineered, see power outage. like those in the 2000-2001 energy crisis if August and September are unusually hot, state energy officials warn.
Last summer, California's electricity consumption set records seven times despite average temperatures, and peak demand was at a level not expected to occur until 2006, the California Energy Commission The California Energy Commission is California’s primary energy policy and planning agency. Created in 1974 and headquartered in Sacramento, the Commission has responsibility for activities that include forecasting future energy needs, promoting energy efficiency through said.
If temperatures this year reach levels that occur once every decade, electricity demand in August and September could outstrip out·strip
tr.v. out·stripped, out·strip·ping, out·strips
1. To leave behind; outrun.
2. To exceed or surpass: "Material development outstripped human development" supply in areas served by Southern California Edison Southern California Edison (or SCE Corp), the largest subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE: EIX), is the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California. It provides 11 million people with electricity. - including the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys The Santa Clarita Valley is the valley of the Santa Clara River in Southern California. It stretches through Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Its main population center is the city of Santa Clarita. The valley was part of the 48,612-acre (19,672. - and San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. Gas and Electric, the commission said.
If summer temperatures are average, power supplies should be adequate, state officials said, but they are still worried about the possibility of breakdowns at plants, less imported electricity than expected or forest fires This is a list of notorious forest fires: North America
Year Size Name Area Notes
1825 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km²) Miramichi Fire New Brunswick Killed 160 people. affecting high-power lines.
In the Pacific Northwest, where hydroelectric dams produce power that gets sent to California, low rainfall and a scanty snowpack snow·pack
An area of naturally formed, packed snow that usually melts during the warmer months.
1. this year have Seattle residents worried about drought. The Northwest had a drought in 2001, contributing to California's power woes.
California electricity consumption is up beyond the peak it hit before the 2000-2001 energy crisis because of economic growth and population increases.
Unusually hot weather could push demand past supply by 0.1 percent in August and 1.5 percent in September.
New power plants are expected to open by summer to provide an additional 1,395 megawatts of power for Edison and SDG&E regions, but that is not enough to compensate for the increasing consumption coupled with the expected loss of 676 megawatts from closing outdated plants.
Too few power plants are being built in California because of uncertainty about California's electricity market and future regulations, said Pedro Pizarro, Southern California Edison's vice president of power procurement The fancy word for "purchasing." The procurement department within an organization manages all the major purchases. .
He said commercial energy firms can't get bank loans to finance new plants without long-term supply contracts, and utilities don't want to make long-term commitments with the possibility that regulators will allow customers to switch electricity companies, as they can now switch telephone companies.
Southern California Edison has power commitments sufficient next summer to meet the type of heat wave that occurs about once in 10 years, he said, plus a 7 percent reserve.
But Edison customers still are at risk of power shortages because of supply deficiencies elsewhere, as among firms called ``retail electric service providers'' whose customers get electricity through Edison's lines.
``We're all part of one interconnected grid,'' Pizarro said.
Edison is negotiating contracts with the operators of mothballed power plants to restore production, as well as getting residents and businesses to sign up for programs in which rates go down for cutting energy use or air-conditioning can be shut down during high-consumption periods.
State energy officials said they will attempt to speed up the construction of power plants and electrical generation for peak periods, as well as try to reduce transmission-line bottlenecks that hinder electricity from getting from one area of California to another.
Charles F. Bostwick, (661) 267-5742