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All-Time Peak Electric Load Facing California, Grid Operator Forecasts

Not since a freak heat storm more than a decade ago have the California Independent System Operator's (CAISO) computers spewed out a forecast for peak electricity demand like the one for Friday, calling for an all-time high of 51,004 MW, eclipsing the 50,270 MW of July 24, 2006.

And late Thursday, CAISO engineers were not blinking, although they re-issued a statewide conservation alert and fretted about energy supplies.

State energy officials for the first time during the week-long heat wave are warning that natural gas and electricity supplies both are expected to be "tight."

Both CAISO and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued public service warnings to consumers, noting that forecasts call for "record demand load on Friday and all available resources are online and ready to respond."

"Power supply conditions will be tight and so will be the natural gas supply in Southern California," a CAISO spokespersons said.

The grid operator and Southern California Gas Co., owner of the state's largest, but only partially operating gas storage facility, are following processes established to manage gas supply in the Los Angeles Basin during the continued limitations on the 3,200-acre Aliso Canyon underground storage field north of Los Angeles, the CAISO spokesperson said.

"The generation fleet has performed well so far during this prolonged heat wave without any major outages," CAISO officials noted. 

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