California introduced its first rolling blackouts on Friday night since the 2001 energy crisis, when a burning heat wave drained its electricity supply. The blackouts included large scores in El Dorado County.
The independent system operator in California, which operates the state’s electricity grid, declared an emergency warning in stage 3 around 18:30, the first time since 2001.
Spokeswoman Anne Gonzales said the network managers “lost” about 500 megawatts of power and disappeared between 50,000 and 75,000 households. She did not immediately know where the blackouts had hit, even though spokeswoman PG&E Corp. Paul Moreno said significant blackouts in El Dorado County were caused by the ISO emergency. They included nearly 1
A total of 128,000 homes and businesses are without electricity within the PG&E territory, its power outages show. Some of these customers lost power before blackouts, as in Woodland. In total, PG&E says that as many as 250,000 customers could be affected on a rolling basis when the tools change blocks in one hour of rotation.
San Diego Gas & Electric also reported that at least 14,000 of its households lost power due to the rolling blackout.
There were no significant disruptions in the Sacramento area. SMUD, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, is not part of the network system operated by ISO.
The extraordinary development ended a day when ISO constantly asked customers to reduce demand, while at the same time ordering suppliers to postpone scheduling maintenance and bring other deliveries to the market. “We have done everything we can on the supply side,” she said.
She said demand declined as the evening progressed, but as the sun began to begin a vital source of supply began to wane: “The problem is that the sun is also setting,” she said.
California has added a lot of new power production since the energy crisis, including renewable energy sources, but the system was quickly overwhelmed by a heat wave that is expected to extend to next week and a top 110 degrees in the Sacramento Valley.
“We have been preparing for this for two days,” Gonzales said. “We are 10 to 20 degrees above normal. This is all heat driven. “It was 105 degrees in Sacramento on Friday night.
The state endured several days of rolling blackouts in the spring of 2001. Part of the reason was a real shortage of electricity. But investigators later discovered that the blackouts were also the result of unscrupulous energy companies from companies that Enron “played” a bad faulty grid system and deliberately withheld electricity from California to blackmail higher prices.
The highest usage across the state was 46,802 megawatts at 4:55 p.m. Friday, according to the independent system operator. Thursday’s peak was 42,327 megawatts. But when demand decreases during the evening, so does power generation.