The natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon underground storage facility may affect Hill residents this summer. Reduced availability of natural gas may create power outages during peak days this summer.
The California Energy Commission and three other public agencies released a report last week and held a public workshop Friday to address how the underground storage facility problem could affect power in Southern California this summer.
Based on modeling of the power grid and the natural gas supplies, the four agencies believe gas shortages to power plants this summer could result in 14 days of interrupted service to Southern California utility customers.
“Southern California Edison generates about 15 percent of the electricity it provides to customers with the remaining 85 percent purchased from independent power producers,” SCE said in press release issued after the Action Plan’s release. In 2014, about a quarter of its power came from natural gas and in 2013, it was more than 40 percent.
“SCE and other electric generators order gas the day before based on forecasting,” said Colin Cushnie, SCE vice president, for Energy Procurement and Management. “When an electric generator’s forecast is wrong — that could occur if temperatures are higher than forecast and customer usage is higher than expected -— then you have an imbalance between what is available and what is needed, and that is when you might have a power outage.”
Cushnie assured customers that SCE will do everything it can to minimize the effect of natural gas storage issues on the reliable delivery of power, including contracts for electricity resources outside of Southern California. He encouraged customers to help the situation, too, by participating in conservation programs.
The draft Action Plan proposed 18 recommendations “to reduce the possibility of electrical interruptions.” Besides greater energy conservation, the draft plan recommends that 15 billion cubic feet of natural gas still stored in the Aliso Canyon facility should be available during peak demand this summer.
The agencies, which prepared the report, were the California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, California Independent System Operator, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.