Calif. electricity imports threatened : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Calif. electricity imports threatened

By Martin Cej, Last Update: 4:51 PM ET May 16, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- California's largest out-of-state electricity supplier may curtail deliveries at any time due to a water shortage in the Canadian province of British Columbia, which could exacerbate the state's energy crisis.

FRONT PAGE NEWS Dow cruises above 11,000; Nasdaq also leaps Tech shares even out after H-P results Hewlett-Packard beats expectations Market news and more! Sign up to receive FREE email newsletters Get the latest news 24 hours a day from our 100-person news team. Vancouver-based British Columbia Hydro & Power, Canada's second-biggest electricity exporter, said that its reservoir levels are only 80 percent of normal for this time of the year due to a lower-than-normal winter snowfall and warned that it may be constrained in what it can export to the state.

"If we do not have that supply, it will have a definite impact on our ability to meet the load demands of the state," said Jim Detmers, vice president of operations at California Independent System Operator, the state's power grid operator. "BC Hydro has been providing a significant amount of energy to California for some time, and this would make all the difference."

BC Hydro's exports to California and other customers depend on whether the utility can first meet the needs of its provincial customers, and the company is now asking provincial regulators for permission to offer financial rebates to large industrial clients for conserving energy.

"We've met any contracts that we're currently in, but the degree to which we can help others asking for electricity is something we are deciding not on a day-by-day basis, but hour by hour," said Wayne Cousins, a spokesman for BC Hydro.

"Our first priority is B.C.," Cousins said. "We have one shareholder; the province."

That's bad news for California, which is hard pressed to meet the electricity demands of consumers during peak hours. BC Hydro last week withheld power from the state for two hours on concern utilities would not be able to pay.

The Department of Water Resources, which purchases the electricity California needs to overcome shortfalls between what the state generates and what it uses, had to wire BC Hydro a check before it would resume service. The Department of Water Resources has been buying about $50 million of electricity a day on behalf of PG&E's (PCG: news, msgs, alerts) Pacific Gas & Electric unit, which is under bankruptcy protection, and Edison International's (EIX: news, msgs, alerts) Southern California Edison.

Oscar Hidalgo, a spokesman for the Department of Water Resources, said it purchases from zero to 40,000 megawatts a day from BC Hydro. Hidalgo said the state typically consumes between 200,000 and 300,000 megawatts per day.

"BC Hydro is the leading exporter to us, but we do have about 25 suppliers that we deal with," Hidalgo said.

Although the state can turn to other suppliers, even they would have trouble meeting California's demands during peak usage hours without BC Hydro's contribution.

"It would be much more difficult for the generators to step into the gap during times of high demand," said Claudia Chandler, assistant director of energy at the California Energy Commission.

Sales to California have driven BC Hydro's profit to records, even as the state's ability to pay its bills dwindles. BC Hydro's net income nearly tripled to C$1.3 billion ($845 million) from C$467 million in the first nine months of its fiscal year as sales from electricity trading more than quadrupled to C$3.8 billion from C$913 million.

"An increase in revenues from the California market accounted for almost half of the total increase in electricity trade revenues," the company said in its third-quarter financial report.

"California is valuable customer, but we will help them only if and when we are able," Cousins said.;

-- Martin Thompson (, May 17, 2001


It seems like California's suppliers are going down like ten pins. Candle power and battery sales should be big there this summer.

-- RWiloughby (, May 17, 2001.

This is another nail in the coffin. California is gone, as far as being a major contributor to this nation's economy this year.

What is it? I've heard they contribute about 12% of the country's total output. The whole country's got to be hurting from this.

-- Templace (, May 17, 2001.

At least B.C.'s reservoirs are 80% full. I think I read where the state of Washington is only at 40%. Big difference. How this will all play out, I don't know. But, I would think first call on imports from B.C. would be the state of Washington, which would involve much shorter shipping distance. This is another nail in the coffin for California all right.

-- Loner (, May 17, 2001.

More bad news for California. Each day I pick up something new from this forum that I hadn't thought of.

What next? a coup in Sacramento? Tar a feathers for Davis? Who knows? At this point I am so discouraged that I think anything can happen.

-- JackW (, May 17, 2001.

And the war with El Paso Natural Gas is just heating up.

-- Uncle Fred (, May 17, 2001.

I live in California and recently overheard a conversation in a restaurant between four state employees.

They have the answer. It's all Bush's fault. He's an oil man, and he's only taking care of his pals. As soon as we can figure a way to impeach him, all will be well.

With insider information like this, who nees a forum like this?

-- Sparky (, May 17, 2001.

The bad news just keeps pouring in. A full-scale Middle East War is the last thing needed with this convergence of crisis factors already in place.

Hyperlink: ml

Thursday May 17 9:10 AM ET

Israelis, Palestinians Threaten Intense Conflict

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Israelis and Palestinians faced the specter of increased death and destruction on Thursday after senior officials of both sides threatened to intensify a conflict that has killed more than 500 and wounded thousands.

Israeli Public Security Minister Uzi Landau, speaking in New York, said the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was escalating its reaction to the Palestinian revolt and warned of possible resort to ``all-out'' combat to quell the unrest.

Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, a top Palestinian presidential aide, vowed on Thursday that Palestinians would step up their struggle against Israeli occupation in response to a new round of Israeli missile attacks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Abdel-Rahman denounced a late-night Israeli helicopter bombardment of Palestinian security posts as ``Sharon's madness'' and said it would not snuff out the nearly eight-month-old uprising for independence.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, returning to Gaza after visits to Egypt and Tunisia, issued a message of defiance.

``They think they can bring the Palestinian people to their knees, forgetting that...we will never be humiliated and we will never surrender,'' he told reporters.

Landau, who discussed the Middle East conflict with American Jewish leaders, said late on Wednesday that Israel was acting in self- defense.

``You have a clear decision by the Palestinian Authority to step up terrorist activities until by violent means they will be able to push us around and extract concessions that we are not prepared to do,'' Landau told Reuters Television in New York.

``We are also stepping up our activity in order to protect ourselves. But I believe eventually we will have to start and combat them all- out,'' he said.

The two-pronged Israeli aerial attack wounded at least 14 people in the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza and knocked out electrical power in the West Bank city of Jenin. It was the third such operation in a week of spiraling violence.

``Bombardments, assassinations, reoccupation of cities will only lead to Palestinian anger and to more determination to finish the occupation and drive out settlers,'' Abdel-Rahman told Reuters.

But Dore Gold, Sharon's senior adviser, suggested the Israeli attacks would continue, saying: ``This is not a conflict Israel can win with one military operation.''

At least 425 Palestinians, 80 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed since the uprising began.


Even as he threatened stronger action, Landau acknowledged that Israeli troops erred when they killed five Palestinian paramilitary policemen in the West Bank on Monday -- an attack Palestinian officials branded cold-blooded murder.

Landau said the policemen had been in a position that had been used for months by Palestinian gunmen to fire on Israelis.

``We were looking for others who were directly responsible for the shooting. They happened to replace them,'' he said. ''This was the mistake that we made.''

Palestinians accuse Israel of using excessive force against unarmed protesters and violating their territorial rights.

Sharon has said Palestinian violence must stop before peace talks can resume. The uprising began in late September after Sharon visited a Jerusalem shrine holy to Jews and Muslims during a deadlock in peacemaking.

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo made a written appeal on Thursday to the U.S. Congress, a traditional bastion of support for Israel, asking it to back the findings of a U.S.-led inquiry into months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

He asked that congressmen help implement the commission's full package of recommendations, including a call for a freeze on Israeli settlement building on occupied land. This has already been rejected by the Israeli government.


Late on Wednesday, some 5,000 residents encircled the missile-damaged compound in Jabalya, the largest Gaza Strip refugee camp, chanting ``Revenge, revenge, revenge.''

Israel's army said it had targeted the security post after attacks against Israelis were carried out from the area.

In Jenin, two Israeli helicopter gunships fired missiles at police headquarters. The army said it struck a building ``used to manufacture weapons and mortar bombs,'' but Palestinian lawmaker Jamal Shati said, ``This is a lie.''

Early on Thursday, Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered a Palestinian- ruled area of the Gaza Strip, the Khan Younis refugee camp, the latest in a series of incursions that have fuelled Palestinian anger.

Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces exchanged fire. A 67-year-old civilian on his balcony was critically wounded by Israeli gunfire, hospital officials and witnesses said.

The latest violence coincided with efforts to arrange a meeting between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Arafat during Powell's trip to Africa and Europe from May 22 to 30.

Copyright, Reuters News Service, Fair Use for Educational and Research Purposes Only

-- Robert Riggs (, May 17, 2001.

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