CAISO, CPUC, CEC Issue Preliminary Report on Blackouts

Published On: October 6, 2020

The Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee will be holding an oversight hearing with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and California Energy Commission (CEC) aimed at reviewing a report on the rolling blackouts triggered in August.

The Preliminary Root Cause Analysis  121 page report issued by the three energy agencies today offered the following three key findings:

  1. The climate change-induced extreme heat storm across the western United States resulted in the demand for electricity exceeding the existing electricity resource planning targets. The existing resource planning processes are not
    designed to fully address an extreme heat storm like the one experienced in mid-August.
  2. In transitioning to a reliable, clean, and affordable resource mix, resource planning targets have not kept pace to lead to sufficient resources that can be relied upon to meet demand in the early evening hours. This makes balancing
    demand and supply more challenging. These challenges were amplified by the extreme heat storm.
  3. Some practices in the day-ahead energy market exacerbated the supply challenges under highly stressed conditions.

The hearing is scheduled for October 12, 2020, at 10 a.m. in the Assembly Chamber.   The Committee agenda can be found here: Agenda Details

As we reported following the outages of August 14 and 15, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom directed the energy agencies to look at what went wrong, including within their organizations.  In their initial joint assessment, the three entities promised a “deeper dive” full review — this report is the “deep dive.”

In addition, CAISO said they will host a stakeholder call on October 13, 2020, to discuss the report.

Govreport will provide coverage of this hearing.

About the Author: Jesus Arredondo

Jesus Arredondo is an Energy Industry Analyst and former State of California official. He can be reached at jesus at govreport.org