High Monday Temperatures, Natural Gas Shortage Might Mean Outages


Triple digits temperatures in Burbank are forecast for this Sunday and Monday, with Monday highs estimated at a scorching 106 degrees.  This heat wave means extra energy conservation vigilance is needed by residents and businesses.  Across the Southland, local utilities are already challenged with the limited availability of natural gas from the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility located near Porter Ranch needed to fuel 17 natural gas-fired power plants in the region.  Without this important resource, there simply may not be enough natural gas available to produce electricity, particularly during heat waves.  This could lead to regional power outages in a process called controlled rolling blackouts.

In response, Burbank Water and Power (BWP) and other local energy providers have joined together as the Energy Providers of Southern California and have launched the Conserve Energy SoCal initiative.  This initiative seeks to bring Southern California residents together to conserve energy to reduce the risk of natural gas and electricity shortages this year.  An important component of the initiative is the www.ConserveEnergySoCal.com website, which contains helpful consumer resources, such as a handy reference for building an outage supply kit.  BWP urges residents to be prepared for emergencies, including electrical outages.

“Burbank boasts an electric reliability factor of 99.999%, one of the highest in America,” states Jorge Somoano, BWP Acting General Manager.  “We’re exceptionally proud of that and work hard to keep the lights on for our customers.  But, without natural gas from Aliso Canyon to fuel local power plants, our ability to keep the lights on is highly compromised.”

Burbank, along with the entire state, has had ongoing success in dramatically reducing water use in response to California’s drought.  A number of partnerships were fostered to provide shared messages and programs for SoCal residents to best combat the drought.  That same philosophy is in play now with this natural gas predicament.  With the knowledge that 61% of electricity is generated at natural gas-burning power plants, Southern Californians will now be asked to approach energy conservation in the same way they did water conservation.

“The drought has provided us with proof of how incredibly responsive and diligent our community is.  As supplies are constrained, especially as the temperature rises, Burbank’s residents and businesses will be asked to buckle down with energy conservation.  We’re not alone in this; everyone in the Southland will be impacted. It’s going to be a challenging summer, which appears to be starting sooner than expected with this weekend’s heat wave,” said Joanne Fletcher, BWP’s Assistant General Manager of Customer Service and Marketing.

In addition to BWP’s existing slate of energy efficiency and rebate programs, the Conserve Energy SoCal initiative will use interactive and educational programs to encourage everyone in Southern California to come together to reduce natural gas and electricity consumption. Content will include conservation tips, particularly during peak times when natural gas shortages are more likely to impact the electric grid, perhaps even leading to power outages.  Emergency preparedness information will also be included.

A cornerstone of BWP’s efforts is to make sure that Burbank residents get as much advance notice of possible electrical outages as we can provide.  We urge every member of the community to log on to ReadyBurbank.org, the city’s emergency contact system.  A few minutes spent on the site now will keep residents informed in the event of energy disruptions.

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