California ISO issues Stage Two Electrical Emergency

FOLSOM, Calif., Nov 20, 2000 (BUSINESS WIRE)—The California Independent System Operator (California ISO) was forced to issue a Stage Two Electrical Emergency Monday as operating reserves fell below five percent.

The Stage Two was in effect from 4:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Demand across the California ISO Control Area was expected to peak at 32,900 megawatts around 6:00 p.m. Monday night.

The California ISO said it would attempt to maintain stability of the transmission system without activating voluntary load management programs. However, the California ISO still may implement interruptible programs if reserves dip to lower levels. Interruptible customers, mainly commercial and industrial users, receive a reduced rate in exchange for a commitment to come off line when asked to do so for reliability purposes.

A Stage Two Emergency is declared when operating reserves dip below five percent or are expected to within the next two hours. If an operating reserve shortfall of less than one-and-a-half percent is unavoidable, Stage Three will be initiated. Involuntary curtailments of service to customers, including “rotating blackouts,” are possible during this emergency declaration. The California ISO’s Electrical Emergency Plan (EEP) is part of the state’s enhanced reliability standards created by landmark legislation Assembly Bill 1890, which restructured California’s electricity industry. A Stage One Emergency, urging Californians to conserve as much energy as possible, was called at 5:30 a.m., and is effective through 10 p.m. this evening.

The California ISO is charged with managing the flow of electricity along the long-distance, high-voltage power lines that make up the bulk of California’s transmission system. The not-for-profit public-benefit corporation assumed the responsibility in March, 1998, when California opened its energy markets to competition and the state’s investor-owned utilities turned their private transmission power lines over to the California ISO to manage. The mission of the California ISO is to safeguard the reliable delivery of electricity, facilitate markets and ensure equal access to a 12,500 circuit mile “electron highway.”

Information about the California ISO control area’s electricity supply and the current demand is available on the web at www.caiso.com.

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