Newsom Signs Heat Emergency Proclamation to Free Up Energy Capacity

Governor Newsom convenes all-hands meeting with energy advisors and agency heads on service disruptions caused by the heat wave. – Courtesy photo

As California continues to experience a scorching heat wave and related energy shortages, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an emergency proclamation to free up energy capacity and reduce the need for temporary energy service disruptions.

The proclamation temporarily allows some energy users and utilities to use backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the grid during peak times during the energy emergency.

Over the weekend, state officials worked to bring more energy resources online, including increased generation from sources like the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the California State Water Project and investor-owned utilities. The state has also worked with industrial and commercial consumers to reduce energy consumption during peak hours.

On Sunday, the governor convened a meeting with California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and senior administration officials as the state and the entire West Coast anticipates serious power shortages as the heat wave intensifies over the coming week.

Following the meeting, Newsom sent a letter to CAISO, the CPUC and CEC demanding an investigation into the service disruptions that occurred over the weekend and “the energy agencies’ failure to predict and mitigate them,” a press release read.

“I write today to express my deep concern about the broadscale de-energizations experienced by too many Californians on August 14 and 15th. These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” he wrote. “Residents, communities and other governmental organizations did not receive sufficient warning that these de-energizations could occur. Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians. This cannot stand. California residents and businesses deserve better from their government.

During a press conference Monday Newsom acknowledge that the state failed to predict and plan for the energy shortages. “I am not pleased with what’s happened,” he said. “You shouldn’t be pleased with the moment that we’re in in the state of California.”

However, according to reporting from CNBC, Steve Berberich, president and CEO of CAISO, says the agency had “indicated in filing after filing after filing that the resource adequacy program was broken and needed to be fixed.” Berberich said the situation the state finds itself in could have been avoided and that rolling blackouts are “near certain” through Wednesday.

CAISO issued a statewide Flex Alert Sunday, extended until Wednesday, calling for voluntary electricity conservation between 3 and 10 p.m. each day.

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