Energy Consumption is Down Slightly During Week 10 of Shelter-in-Place Order

Published On: May 28, 2020

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) noted that they experienced load reductions of roughly 2% to 3% during the 10th week of the shelter-in-place order as compared to last year; but will that hold with a heat spell coming in week 11?

Power usage has moved from commercial and industrial to residential usage. According to  Southern California Edison (SCE), power usage on its system was down 6% in the first month of the shelter-in-place order, as compared to the same period last year. However, the residential load was up 14% compared to the non-residential load, which is down 16%. That shift is putting a greater pressure on homeowners to cover the State’s power costs.

This change in power demand has also changed the supply side. Natural gas was up more than 500 megawatt-hours (MWh) when compared to last year, and imports are up by more than 600 MWh.

Meanwhile, renewables were down for the same period by more than 100 MWh, and large hydropower is down by 1,600 MWh.

With California facing dry-to drought-like conditions, hydropower will continue to produce at less than average, creating a greater reliance on other forms of power. During shelter-in-place, natural gas and imports (the types of power that can be scheduled) are especially crucial during unpredictable times.

Central California is expected to see triple digit temperatures during week 11. With some restrictions also being lifted, it is likely that power consumption could increase during this time.

About the Author: Matt Ross

Matt Ross is a Senior Consultant in the energy industry and has more than a dozen years of experience in state government. He can be reached at matt at govreport.org