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With Aliso Canyon still offline, CAISO agrees on winter action plan

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With Aliso Canyon still offline, CAISO agrees on winter action plan

California regulators will be asking energy users to limitnatural gas use in the months ahead as the state continues to plan forcomplications from the Aliso Canyon storage facility being offline.

The CaliforniaISO Board of Governors on Oct. 3 approved a plan for managingwinter gas supplies with the Aliso Canyon storage facility still out ofcommission. The board agreed that a gas and electric reliabilitywinter action plan — drawn up in August by the California Energy Commission,California Public Utilities Commission, Los Angeles Department of Water andPower, and CAISO — would help stave off supply shortages in southernCalifornia.

Building on a similar summer action plan, the agencieshighlighted 10 additional measures to "reduce, but not eliminate,"the possibility of gas curtailments large enough to affect power supplies.These measures include customer outreach and reward programs to encourage lessgas consumption, along with setting advance limits on power generators' gas useon winter peak days.

Aliso Canyon is the largest gas storage facility in thestate, but after a multi-month leak, state regulators have blocked operatorSouthern California GasCo. from using the field until its 114 wells are put throughrigorous tests. Only 25 wells have passed all tests, while another 60 have beentaken out of service for now, the state Department of Conservation's websitesaid Oct. 4.

State regulators expressed concern earlier in 2016 thathaving the SempraEnergy facility out of commission could lead to as many as 14 daysof blackouts over the summer, but the storage field's absence did not lead towidespread power outages.

"The energy agencies and ISO staffs workedcollaboratively to effectively manage summer demand on the electric gridfollowing limitations on a major California gas storage facility that servesthe Los Angeles Basin," Steve Berberich, ISO president and CEO, said in anOct. 4 statement. "We are now building on that experience to ensure wehave the best practices in place to meet winter heating demand and still havethe gas needed to run the region's power plants."