Arizona official says power plug in California could lead to outages | Arizona

(The Center Square) – The head of the Arizona Enterprise Commission is concerned that California power officials moving their power forward of the line could export blackouts to Arizona and somewhere else.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently decided to allow the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to prioritize power flow throughout California over Arizona. This concerns the president of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), Lea Márquez Peterson.

CAISO asked FERC to make changes to its priority transmission rate through California in response to the major power outages of August 2020. The preparedness plan was approved by the network operator California’s main has deprioritized electric power sent out of the golden state when electricity demand is high.

In response, the ACC and public utility commissions and electric utilities in states such as Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon filed protests with FERC, claiming that CAISO is an entity “independent” and should be held “openly” and “fairly” accountable. “wholesale market.

Southwestern utilities such as Tucson Electric Power and Arizona Public Service accused CAISO of “exporting its reliability issues that result from the dynamics within CAISO BAA to the rest of the West.”

This summer, as California utilities run out of power due to rate changes, Márquez Peterson said CAISO could void contracts and block power at the border, allowing CAISO to buy back power for itself. destined for Arizona. She fears this will force Arizona utilities to struggle to make up for the electricity they had already paid for and relied on. The tariff change, she said, benefits Californians at the expense of the health and well-being of Arizonans.

“During rotating blackouts, small areas within utility territory would experience short 1-2 hour power outages. While most households and businesses would continue to be serviced, affected areas would be rotated until the need for forced blackouts is over,” she said. noted.

FERC accepted CAISO’s responses to the protests against the rate changes and did not change its position, believing that the rate was non-discriminatory, consistent with open access principles, and effectively balanced competing interests.

“Despite overwhelming opposition from other western states, FERC has sided with California and granted the change that will allow California to block power from flowing to Arizona, which which could mean power shortages for Arizonans,” Márquez Peterson said.

According to CAISO, the initiative to “refine[d] the prioritization of energy imports, exports and transfers through the ISO balancing authority area”, so that the energy supplier can more effectively manage power shortages and avoid more outages.

The state experienced supply-caused blackouts in August 2020 that saw hundreds of thousands of residents without power in triple-digit heat.

“This decision is problematic for many western states, including Arizona,” Márquez Peterson said. “Our electric utilities did the right thing and planned ahead, securing pre-negotiated contracts with Pacific Northwest utilities to ensure critical hydroelectricity would be available for Arizonans when it was needed most, which would be delivered on the transmission line across the state of California.”

She recommended that Arizonans develop a backup plan in the event of a power outage and said she questions Arizona’s involvement in the regional energy market.

“While I sympathize with those in California who experienced power outages last year, I stand firm with Arizonans first and believe that California’s manipulation of the market is unjust and unfair to Arizonans and the other western states.”

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