Porter Ranch Leak Could Mean Summer Blackouts in SoCal

A resident wears a gas mask as he joins others in a protest outside a meeting of the Air Quality Management Board over the gas leak in Porter Ranch, California on January 23, 2016

Portions of Southern California could face widespread blackouts this summer due to gas shortages caused by October’s catastrophic Porter Ranch methane gas leak.

Officials said Tuesday that the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility — a crucial source of natural gas for SoCal residents that currently sits at an estimated 20 percent of its total capacity after last year’s devastating leak — would likely not return online before summer, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A joint report released Tuesday by four agencies — the California Independent System Operator (CISO), the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) — found that in addition to widespread summer blackouts, the region could see additional blackouts over an eight-to-18 day period later this year.

The pipelines “cannot transfer gas fast enough to meet the hour-to-hour or changing demands of power plants during the summer when electricity demand peaks,” CISO vice president Mark Rothleder told the Times.

Tuesday’s interagency report included 18 recommendations to reduce the risk of blackouts in the region, including asking the public significantly to reduce energy consumption in the summer. The four agencies involved in drafting the report will reportedly hold a public workshop on the recommendations on Friday in Woodland Hills.

The Aliso Canyon leak spewed more than 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air in the community of Porter Ranch for four months before it was finally capped. In December, the Southern California Gas Company was ordered to assist in the evacuations of 5,000 Porter Ranch residents, many of whom complained of severe headaches, cognitive impairment, dizziness and flu-like symptoms as a result of methane poisoning.

In February, the family of a 79-year-old Porter Ranch resident filed a wrongful death lawsuit the Southern California Gas Company, charging that the agency’s negligence in reporting the leak and failure to warn the public of its danger contributed to the man’s death.

As Breitbart’s Chriss Street previously reported, the leak has tarnished Gov. Jerry Brown’s environmental credentials in the state.

In a statement Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the city would introduce rebates to encourage Southern California residents and businesses to conserve energy.

“We can all help get through this tough period by conserving energy, making our buildings more efficient and taking other actions that reduce our use of electricity and natural gas,” Garcetti said.

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum