Rolling blackout fear in SoCal triggers new push for solutions

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After a report warned the Porter Ranch gas leak could lead to big outages this summer, officials are looking for solutions. (KABC)

After a new report warned that the Porter Ranch gas leak could lead to power outages this summer, officials have been meeting to find ways to keep the lights on in Southern California.

The report said the loss of natural gas and the shut down of the Southern California Gas Aliso Canyon facility could lead to shortages in power supplies that could lead to up to two weeks of blackouts this summer. The gas leak, which lasted four months, forced thousands of people to relocate from their homes in the San Fernando Valley.

"The report worries me because it seems to be, 'We'll tell you how terrible blackouts are' - and we know they're terrible - 'Now let us go back to business as usual as if there was never a problem.' And that's not the kind of report that I enjoy reading," said Congressman Brad Sherman.

A meeting Friday between various government officials and industry experts basically boiled down to two things: Safety and keeping the lights on.

The chairman of the California Energy Commission said officials are consulting with the same firm that helped after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 and worked to determine whether those wells were safe.

SoCal Gas's wells will be subject to six separate tests and some may be shut down, commission chairman Bob Weisenmiller said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said one important step local residents can take is reducing their power usage.

"We're trying to get people to say, 'Let's reduce wherever we can our energy consumption this summer'," Garcetti said on ABC7's Eyewitness Newsmakers.

"Second, though, once we get those wells inspected - and they can't do that too fast - then I think we're going to need to put some gas in there to get through the summertime while our long-term plan is to reduce our dependence on that gas altogether,"
Related Topics:
gas leakgas fumesporter ranch gas leakpower outagePorter RanchLos Angeles
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