Article By: PeakOil.com
The entire Los Angeles metropolitan area & most of Southern California can expect blackouts this summer.
The power grid is under direct threat as a result of the unprecedented, but little reported, massive natural gas leaks at Alisco Canyon that was ongoing for 4 months as an intense summer heat wave sets in.
According to Reuters:
California will have its 1st test of plans to keep the lights on this summer. W/record-setting heat & air conditioning demand expected in Southern California, the state’s power grid operator issued a so-called “flex alert,” urging consumers to conserve energy to help prevent rotating power outages – which could occur regardless.
Electricity demand is expected to rise during the unseasonable heatwave on Monday & Tuesday w/forecast system-wide use expected to top 45,000 megawatts, said the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages electricity flow through the state. That compares with a peak demand of 47,358 MW last year & the all-time high of 50,270 MW set in July 2006.
That could put stress on the power grid, particularly w/the shut-in of Aliso Canyon, following a massive leak at the underground storage facility in October [Editor’s Note: which was not stopped fully until mid-February 2016].
The large-scale natural gas disaster – which curiously escaped media frenzy & widespread environmental concern – has resulted in the shutdown of key storage facilities that supply most of the power for the southern portion of the state. As summer demand for electricity to cool homes & businesses kicks into high gear, power plants are planning to shut down w/supply shortages triggering controlled blackouts & brownouts.
Reports say that “all customers” should expect to be w/out power a total 14 days – 2 weeks time – out of this summer. Some 21 million Californians stand to be directly affected:
All customers, including homes, hospitals, oil refineries & airports are at risk of losing power at some point this summer bc a majority of electric generating stations in California use gas as their primary fuel. In April, millions of electric customers in Southern California were warned they could suffer power outages on up to 14 days this summer due to the closure.
Unlike some other gas transmission systems that can store large amounts of so-called linepack gas in pipelines, like PG&E Corp in northern California, SoCalGas cannot function w/only pipeline or storage supplies.
Planned rolling brownouts have been done on a regular basis in Southern California since the days of Enron & the California energy crisis of 200o-2001, but the situation is getting more dire. As demand spikes, customers can expect to pay more for electricity, even as supplies threaten to be cut off, leaving families, residents & businesses in the dark.
All this, as California’s historic drought problems continue to plague the state & restrict available services.
As Tess Pennington notes:
This puts stress of the other electrical grids who then compensate for the loss of energy to that existing grid. When these events take place, there is an overwhelming increase of power in homes & commerce to either generate heat, air conditioning or electricity. When this need overwhelms the grid, the utility company intentionally “shuts off the power to an area in order to reduce the load on an electricity generation & grid. The utility company turns it back on & then shuts the power off in a different area, w/outages in any given area typically lasting 60 to 90 minutes, according to the California Energy Commission. This is a last resort measure of utility companies to avoid an even worse situation — a total power blackout.
Of course, there is plenty of room for unplanned blackouts as well, as an increasingly vulnerable power grid nears the perfect conditions for a grid down scenario. In the worst case scenario, these massive power outages, particularly if they are sustained for longer periods (authorities estimate up to 2 weeks w/out electricity is likely, though not necessarily in consecutive days), could interrupt other vital services – including grocery deliveries, water, gasoline at the pumps & even communications.
The larger question is whether or not they want the grid to fail.
It is simple economic fact that the power companies stand to make more money of a power shortages during a crisis than they do during abundant & cheap energy.
Homeland Security & other government agencies have been preparing in secret for a grid disaster for several years now. Former DHS secretary Janet Napolitano ominously warned ahead of the Grid Ex II multi-agency drill that an unprecedented collapse of the power grid is imminent & could result from a cyber attack, an EMP or a massive natural disaster:
The outgoing Homeland Security Secretary has a warning for her successor: A massive & “serious” cyber attack on the U.S. homeland is coming, & a natural disaster — the likes of which the nation has never seen — is also likely on its way.
An electrical grid joint drill simulation is being planned in the United States, Canada & Mexico. 1000s of utility workers, FBI agents, anti-terrorism experts, governmental agencies & more than 150 private businesses are involved in the November power grid drill.
If the power grid fails, a lack of electricity & food delivery are only the 1st wave of troubles facing the American people. Police could face major problems w/civil unrest. Of course, there also would not be any electric heating or cooling, which easily could lead to many deaths depending on the season.
It seems that it is a matter of when, not if.
That’s why having an off-grid, alternative source of energy is essential for any prepper or level-headed individual, though many communities are now discouraging solar by requiring that it be connected to the grid & regulated by energy companies.
At a minimum, w/an admitted potential for 2 weeks w/the light out, you should have a 1 month supply of food for your family, as well as basic emergency supplies (including candles, flashlights, batteries & other light sources).
It is also prudent to:
*Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.
*Look into alternative power sources to supply your home w/power.
*Have ways to prepare food off the grid.
*Keep your car tank at least 1/2 full bc gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
*Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours w/out a problem. If unsure, check w/your physician or pharmacist.
*Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located & how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.
*Keep a key to your house w/you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
*Have cash money c on hand in case stores are not processing credit cards.
This isn’t just planning for the possible, this is planning for the inevitable, & even the California authorities admit it.