California repeatedly warned about spiking gas prices, fragile supply. But fixes never came.
The last year has been a tumultuous one for California’s energy markets. Beginning in the fall of 2014, the state’s electric utility companies (SoCal’s) and the state’s gas utilities (Edison and PG&E) ran gas-fired power plants at full capacity at some points in the state’s peak hours while at other times, they shut them down to conserve cash.
Since then, the statewide system has been facing a supply tightness problem where the state’s gas power plants are sitting idly by while they are no longer needed even when the demand has spiked. The state’s electricity system in the coming years will also be facing a power shortage issue even when the gas power plants have been restarted. And, these issues are only part of the problems that California’s electrical power system is facing.
California currently has about 5.4 million homes with electric power supplied by the state’s power companies and another 6.3 million with electric power supplied by the independent utilities. But those numbers are projected to drop in the coming years as the California economy is suffering. And, those statistics will not be as dramatic as the decline of the state’s power grid which is experiencing a collapse in its ability to supply power to its customers.
“The problem is the economic times are not good,” said David W. Leith, managing director, Southern California Edison (SoCal). “And those numbers will change.”
What’s happening with electricity in California
The California electricity system is experiencing a dramatic collapse in the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity that it is able to supply to retail market customers and the number of residential customers who are getting the amount of electricity they pay.
In 2013, for the most part, California’s electrical power utilities were using more electricity than they were providing electricity to their customers. While it’s true that the utilities kept their electricity rates high in order