Major California power plant goes off line : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Major power plant goes off line; Stage 2 power alert declared

California is again under a "stage two" power shortage emergency, the California Independent System Operator [Cal-ISO] says.

More than 11,500 megawatts of generation is unavailable today, according to Cal-ISO. An additional 3,000 megawatts of generation from California's "qualifying facilities" remains unavailable due to financial concerns. The situation has been worsened by the loss today of more than 700 megawatts of wind generation, Cal-ISO says. "Qualifying facilities" are smaller generating plants.

Reliant Energy, one of the state's major suppliers of electricity, says it took its Etiwanda No. 3 unit in San Bernardino County off-line at midnight last night for maintenance caused by steam and water leaks, "as well as numerous other problems resulting from months of aggressive operation." The plant, which was placed in service in 1953, is the oldest of Reliant Energy's five power plants in California. The unit provides 320 megawatts of power.

The company says the leaks, if not addressed now, could be catastrophic, potentially causing the plant to be shut down for a longer period than otherwise necessary at a time when electricity demands are expected to be high.

"We cannot wait any longer to take this plant off-line if we expect to be able to get the maintenance outage completed before peak demand periods start," says Joe Bob Perkins, president and chief operating officer of Reliant Energy Wholesale Group in a news release today.

Cal-ISO is urging power conservation to ease the electricity shortage. It says the "stage two" alert will remain in effect until midnight. Should the situation worsen for any reason, and power reserves drop below 1.5 percent, Cal-ISO could declare a "stage three" Emergency. Cal-ISO could direct utilities to "drop load," necessitating involuntary rotating circuit outages for groups of customers across their service areas until sufficient reserve levels are achieved.

-- Martin Thompson (, March 31, 2001


This is especially bad news, when superposed upon the potential for unusual solar flare activity, plus the so-called "April Fool's Bug" now about to hit. Another round of rolling blackouts should be expected in CA this next week. If affected, prepare this weekend.

-- Robert Riggs (, March 31, 2001.

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