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California fire knocks power lines out temporarily, ISO calls transmission emergency

The California Independent System Operator issued a transmission emergency notice for Southern California as a wildfire continues to ripthrough part the region.

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The fire forced four 230-kV lines owned by Southern California Edison outof service, ISO spokesman Steven Greenlee said Tuesday, but the lines havesince returned to service.

The notice is effective through midnight PST Tuesday (0800 GMT Wednesday)due to a "local transmission emergency in the Ventura area," according to theISO.

"A local transmission emergency was declared by the CaliforniaIndependent System Operator due to the loss of critical transmission linesserving the Ventura and Santa Barbara area, and [the ISO] has requestedadditional generation units to support restoration of power for the impactedarea," according to Southern California Edison.

The ISO did not reply immediately to requests for information on how muchadditional generation was required.

SoCal Ed reported early Tuesday that about 180,000 of its customers inVentura County and 83,000 customers in Santa Barbara County were without powerdue to the Thomas Fire, which started Monday night north of Santa Paula.

Around 11 am EST Tuesday that number had dropped to 20,000 customers,according to SoCal Ed.

The size of the Thomas Fire was estimated to be 31,000 acres around 7 amPST Tuesday and was being pushed by strong easterly winds, according toreadyventuracounty.org, a partnership between the Ventura County Sheriff'sOffice of Emergency Services, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency andthe Ad Council.

Fixed wing aircraft and helicopters were expected to attack the fire atdaybreak.

"Transmission lines will continue to be threatened as the fire continuesto burn along the transmission path, possibly causing additionalinterruptions," according to SoCal Ed.

Real-time power prices in California seemed unaffected by the fire andwere in the mid-$20s/MWh around 11:15 am EST.

--Kassia Micek, kassia.micek@spglobal.com

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, keiron.greenhalgh@spglobal.com