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SoCal Facing Possible Electricity Shortage This Summer

Equipment and machinery above Southern California Gas  Co’s natural gas well known as SS25 near Porter Ranch, which is part of the Aliso Canyon facility, where a leak was discovered October 23, 2015.

Remember the brownouts of 2001? It could happen again, according to Steve Berberich, chief executive of California Independent System Operator (ISO), the state’s grid manager. He told the San Diego Union-Tribune that power plants are expecting a shortage of natural gas this summer, particularly during hot days when gas-fueled power plants need to meet peak demand.

Berberich explained this potential shortage is due to Southern California Gas (SCG) taking the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility offline after one of the company’s 115 wells leaked, forcing thousands of residents in nearby Porter Ranch to flee their homes. Pictured above are equipment and machinery at Southern California Gas Co’s SS25 natural gas well near Porter Ranch, which is part of the Aliso Canyon facility, where a leak was discovered Oct. 23, 2015.

He says the ISO has moved quickly to put new mechanisms in place to reduce the impact of gas curtailments on the reliability of electricity, but urged SoCal residents to respond to calls for energy conservation on days “we call a Flex Alert.”

Other than the potential problem facing SoCal due to the Aliso Canyon facility shutdown, the ISO called the energy outlook for the state "positive." The agency noted the state’s electricity generation is up almost 4% over last summer, to 54,459 megawatts statewide. The all-time highest summer peak demand was 50,270 megawatts in July 2006. [SDUT