Dodd introducing power system reliability bill

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By Paul Payne Special to the Express State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation on Monday to improve the reliability of California’s electricity grid, preventing rolling blackouts such as those that left hundreds of thousands of residents without power during summer and fall heatwaves. “The bottom line is that blackouts due to imbalanced supply and demand are completely unacceptable,” Dodd said. “We need to be proactive to prevent the risk of future blackouts. By reducing demand from the largest energy users during peak times, my bill would make the grid more reliable, ensuring Californians have continued access to the energy they need.” Since the 1980s, industrial customers have contributed to grid reliability by curtailing manufacturing when capacity is scarce under an emergency system known as the Base Interruptible Program. During extreme heat in August and September, the California Public Utilities Commission twice called on large businesses to voluntarily reduce energy consumption, preventing more widespread outages that would have left nearly a million customers in the dark. However, an improved program could have further reduced blackouts. Dodd’s proposal strengthens the commission’s mandate to call for energy-use reductions, requires participation from the state’s three largest utilities and improves incentives for compliance. It is supported by the California Large Energy Consumers Association. The bill is co-authored by Assemblymember Chad Mayes, I-Yucca Valley. “Last summer, Californians were put at risk by rolling blackouts,” said Christian Lenci, CLECA chairman. “In August and September 2020, large, clean California manufacturers kept millions of Californians safe by shutting down their businesses to prevent even more rolling blackouts. Blackouts could recur, and Sen. Dodd rightly focuses on the often-neglected part of the equation: not supply, but demand. CLECA is proud to support Sen. Dodd in introducing this bill, and we pledge to work together to provide Californians with an electric grid they can rely upon.”

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