California's Electricity Crisis by Sweeney J.L.

By Sweeney J.L.

For policymakers and others with a significant curiosity in getting past finger-pointing, Sweeney (management technology and engineering, Stanford U.) itemizes the chain of occasions that led California to restructure its electrical energy procedure, the reasons for the failure of that restructuring in 2001, and classes for the long run.

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Extra info for California's Electricity Crisis

Sample text

Thus, the requirement that schedules be balanced did not substantially limit the ability of the electricity buyers and sellers to substitute between the two markets and did not lead to systematic price differentials between the PX markets and the CAISO real-time market.

But transmission capacity is limited. Attempts to transmit too much electricity over a transmission path will result in the line shutting down to protect from permanent damage. • If too little or too much electricity is generated in any location, relative to the use of electricity, the entire grid could become unstable and crash. These characteristics necessitated the creation of an organization responsible for managing the transmission grid, providing resources to ensure safe operations of the grid, and maintaining sufficient quantities of electricity at all times.

This measure was passed by the California legislature and signed into law in September 1996 by then-Governor Pete Wilson. It became effective in March 1998. The bipartisan nature of the restructuring legislation was striking. Primary leadership for the entire legislative package came from a Democratic member of the state senate, Steve Peace; in the state assembly, a Republican, Jim Brulte (now a state senator), authored the bill. The bill passed with no dissenting votes from legislators of either party.

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