CA May Restrict Water Pumps to Save Power

The California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) Wednesday began some joint inspections of off-line power plants as it faced the possibility of declaring a Stage Three alert. Officials had not declared the alert as of press time.

Apparently, Cal-ISO officials think a Stage Three alert may be necessary to force the state's massive water resources projects to reduce their activities to lessen peak power demands. The projects are the largest single electricity users in the state because of the power needed for pumping vast water supplies from the north to the south.

"At the request of the CPUC, we are verifying [power] plants that are off line and checking to see if there is anything we can do to help get those units back in operation," said Cal-ISO's spokesperson, Patrick Dorinson, who noted there would be no official report on the results of the inspection for some time.

Dorinson verified that Cal-ISO is concerned about the cold wave coming down from Canada causing severe natural gas and electric shortfalls for California, greatly cutting prospects for importing power.

As of 3 p.m. PST, the Cal-ISO did not expect to set a cold weather record for power demand Wednesday.

"In order to get some emergency assistance we may have to declare a Stage Three, but not take anyone off," Dorinson said. "The state would be dropping some pump load, and a three-level alert is necessary to get that."

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