CPUC Ramps Up Reliability

By Published On: July 3, 2004

Efforts to shore up reliability are front and center at the California Public Utilities Commission with a June 28 draft decision that would relax restrictions on spot-market purchases for private utilities. Southern California Edison is taken to task for scheduling energy that hasn?t been deliverable, contributing to anxieties about a reliability crunch. Highlights of the plan include:<ul><li><b>Spot purchases:</b> Investor-owned utilities would be able to engage in spot-market transactions exceeding current levels of 5 percent per month to increase local reliability. At the same time, utilities are cautioned not to become overreliant on these transactions.</li> <li><b>Bilateral contracts:</b> Restrictions would be loosened to allow utilities to negotiate these contracts for capacity and energy from power plants.</li> <li><b>Cost recovery:</b> Utilities should seek recovery of reliability-related costs from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If the CPUC is approached, the requests will be reviewed ?when the time is ripe.?</li> <li><b>Monitoring:</b> The Energy Division would gather data from utilities and the California Independent System Operator regarding compliance with the plan. Further, CAISO would be asked to report to the commission on whether utility procurement and scheduling practices are strengthening reliability.</li></ul>

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