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California NatGas System Holding Despite Brutal Heatwave; Conservation Alert in Place

Facing triple-digit temperatures throughout much of the state and the year's highest electricity demand slated to top 47,000 MW, California energy officials indicated Tuesday that the state's natural gas and power delivery systems were operating without any mishaps.

The closed underground gas storage facility at Aliso Canyon in Southern California has not been a factor said the grid operator California Independent System Operator (CAISO),  which has protocols developed last summer for the state's largest gas storage source.

A spokesperson for Aliso operator Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) told NGI the regional gas transmission/distribution system has performed as expected.

"We continually monitor the gas system to meet the demands of the region's gas-fired power plants, and other noncore [large] customers like refineries, as well as core customers -- residences and small businesses," the spokesperson said. In the wake of the Aliso closure last year, SoCalGas has worked more closely with other state agencies to meet system gas demand through out-of-state gas supplies and using storage supplies from other facilities operated by the nation's largest gas distribution utility.

CAISO has existing generation capacity for the state overall of more than 71,000 MW with gas-fired generation sources accounting for more than half (53.1%) of that capacity and renewables (29%) and large hydroelectric supplies comprising another 40%. Gas helps balance out the loads to make up for the intermittency of the renewable sources of power.

CAISO expects high temperatures exceeding 105 to continue through Thursday, pushing up the danger of wildfires, which can in turn can cause problems for the electricity production and distribution infrastructure in the state.

CAISO has issued a conservation (Flex Alert) warning, calling for the voluntary savings of electricity from 2-9 p.m. through Wednesday. 

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