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SoCal Edison taking steps to prevent power outages

June 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Southern California Edison says a steady supply of electricity should continue to surge along its power lines this summer. The utility is taking steps to try to prevent power outages, especially since the San Onofre nuclear power plant is closed.

"The only exception would be an unusually hot summer, or a wildfire that takes out a critical transmission line or some other generation outage," said Caroline Choi with Southern California Edison.

But they are warning the public the recent shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant has tightened up supply.

With summer demand just around the corner, the state's power grid operator -- Cal-ISO -- and SoCal Edison are relying on some pre-planning to reduce the chance of outages. They've beefed up transmission lines to help move power more efficiently.

"Transmission infrastructure changes have been made that allow us to have more reliability, more flexibility and more imports," said Eric Schmitt with California ISO.

But the power grid is only so flexible. Conservation will also play a role during peak demand times. Big industrial users enrolled in SoCal Edison's demand response program will be asked to conserve.

"When we are tight on the system we can ask the system to basically turn their electricity off or down," said Schmitt.

In Fountain Valley, the Orange County Water District is on standby to reduce its electricity consumption if a Flex Alert is called. The water recycling plant can power down purification systems without impacting daily water supply.

"When we call on it, they can reduce their load by 11 megawatts to only utilizing two megawatts, and therefore the 11 megawatts can then be used to provide power elsewhere," said Choi.

Last summer, the water district was asked to power down for 16 hours to help conserve power. SoCal Edison is asking homeowners and smaller businesses to take part in its demand response program which rewards customers that reduce their energy use when demand is high.


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