Officials: Porter Ranch gas leak could cause blackouts this summer

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The massive Southern California Gas Co. leak in Porter Ranch last year could mean a power shortage and rolling blackouts of up to 14 days this summer, state officials said Tuesday.

A new report from four state agencies looked at the impact of the partial shutdown of the Aliso Canyon facility after the largest methane gas leak in U.S. history. The gas leak - discovered in October and capped four months later - forced thousands of people to relocate from homes in the Porter Ranch area.

The Aliso Canyon facility is the largest natural gas storage area in the West, providing gas for heating in the winter and power to run electrical plants in the summer when energy demand spikes. Aliso Canyon supplies natural gas to 17 power plants in the Los Angeles area.

The report's estimates of up to 14 blackout days is based on a typical summer. But if a heat wave hits or other problems with pipeline outages emerge, there could be more days without power.

State officials are investigating the cause of the leak and have ordered the gas company to test all 114 wells before it can resume storing gas deep underground.

The field still has some gas in it and one of the plans to prevent power outages calls for using that gas, as well as seeking more energy efficiency and asking residents to conserve.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.