Energy regulators explain issues leading to forced California energy outages

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- During rotating power outages on August 14 and 15, more than 800,000 homes had their lights shut off.

The head of California's Public Utilities Commission blamed the energy shortage partly on "climate change-induced extreme heat."

"What we experienced was a 1 in 35 years heat storm that not only impacted California, but the entire western United States," says CPUC President Marybel Batjer. "Temperatures were 10-25 degrees above normal."

During a hearing of the state Utilities and Energy Committee, the PUC, the Independent System Operator and Energy Commission responded to an analysis that showed preventable missteps led to the outages.

"The report is short on suggestions about how we get new energy on the grid," says Assemblyman Jim Patterson. "It is full of euphemisms that are basically excuses."

The report indicated the state didn't store enough power for the evening hours when renewable sources like solar go off-line.

But the head of the California Energy Commission expected a 10 fold increase in energy storage next year.

"We have 79 jurisdictional power plants representing 28 gigawatts and there are some efficiency improvements to be found from the existing fleet," says David Hothschild.

The Energy Commission and PUC said they were working on a reliability assessment plan to ensure such a shortage doesn't happen again.
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