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California blackouts are Public Utilities Commission’s fault, grid operator says

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Monday, August 17, 2020

California’s power grid operator delivered a blistering rebuke Monday to the state’s Public Utilities Commission, blaming the agency for rotating power outages — the first since the 2001 energy crisis — and warning of bigger blackouts to come. In their first public comments since the blackouts began Friday evening, officials at the California Independent System Operator described a “perfect storm” of conditions that caused demand to exceed available supply: scorching temperatures in California and across the western United States, diminished output from renewable sources and fossil-fueled power plants affected by the weather, and in some cases plants going offline unexpectedly when electricity was needed most. But Stephen Berberich, the grid operator’s president, said the state could have been prepared for that perfect storm if only the Public Utilities Commission had ordered utility companies to line up sufficient power supplies.

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