California power end users probably thought they were justhaving another nightmare Monday when the California ISO announcedStage One and Stage Two Electric Emergencies. After all, it’sNovember, not August. However, August apparently left a lastingimpression on the state’s ailing power plants.

The market can expect “pretty much the same situation —another challenging day [Wednesday],” an ISO spokeswoman said.

“There’s 11,000 MW down right now for maintenance. That’s quitea bit more than usual. Generally on any given day there’s about2,500 MW to 3,000 MW off line, so that’s quite a bit of difference.The reason I’ve been given is that the generators in-state arepretty much an aging fleet. There hasn’t been any new generationbuilt in the state within the last 10 years, so all of these unitsare pretty old.

“They were worked pretty hard over the summer. We had an awfullot of no-touch days. We kept them generating as much as they couldgive us and so it’s a pretty natural thing that they would need alittle bit of down time and a little bit of maintenance followingsuch a demanding summer.” She would not give any specifics on plantoutages and PG&E and SoCal Edison spokesmen refused to commenton the situation. It seems that “power” has become a bad word inCalifornia.

The ISO canceled its emergencies late yesterday evening.However, it declared Tuesday a “No Touch Day,” urging marketparticipants to avoid actions that might “unnecessarily jeopardizereliability.” The ISO predicted 32,403 MW of demand yesterday and33,687 MW for today because of “high loads and insufficientresources.”

“Those who have additional energy or capacity to provide arehighly encouraged to submit bids into the supplemental energymarket,” the ISO said in a warning notice. It was requestingsupplemental energy bids for up to 3000 MW, for hours four through10.

Meanwhile, spot power prices in the state soared to between $180and $190/MWh for next day delivery with peaks for some hours above$210/MWh.

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