The weather forecasters actually can't answer this question. But the people who run San Diego's electric system can....or should be able to provide the answer. With the San Onofre Power Plant shut down indefinitely, SDG&E and the state transmission operator are scrambling to deal with the loss of this important power plant. Last time San Onofre went down (September 8, 2011), all of San Diego was plunged into darkness. Will that happen again this summer?
What happened on September 8th should never have happened. No, we aren't talking about the miscue by Arizona Public Service that triggered the Great San Diego Blackout. That is not unusual and should not have caused anything more than perhaps a flicker of lights in a few isolated places in our county. That it triggered the most unprecedented and costly blackout in San Diego's history is what needs to be investigated and corrected. And it was a DOUBLE blackout because both electricity and wireless telephone systems were knocked out.
The long awaited report on the September 8, 2011 blackout was finally released by Federal regulators. And the culprit was.........well it wasn't Homer Simpson and it wasn't that poor electrician in Arizona who accidentally short-circuited a transmission feeder. The culprit was......well, read the full story.
We figured it would happen, we just didn't realize it would happen so soon!
According to a news article on NBC San Diego's website, a pair of local businessmen filed a class action lawsuit against SDG&E on September 12. This was just four days after what our Executive Director Michael Shames deemed to be one of the nation's first 21st century blackouts. The businessmen also filed suit against Arizona Public Service, the entity SDG&E is pointing its finger at for the blame of this eclipsing event.
Was a "Lone Homer" responsible for one of the biggest blackouts in utility history? Simpson may well be behind the blackout, but he wasn't in Arizona. Reports that he was located in SDG&E's Mission Valley control center remain unconfirmed. Color us skeptical.
The September 8, 2011 blackout covered a land mass nearly half the size of Eastern Europe. And according to UCAN's Executive Director, Michael Shames, it "started in San Diego." Shames calls it the nation's first 21st Century blackout, largely because it not only took down power, but it also compromised the metropolitan area's communications infrastructure. Here's UCAN's take on this history-making blackout.
At around midnight on April 1st, the CAISO sent some stunning news to SDG&E -- "curtail 310MW of power to your customers. Now." Even more surprisingly, with no apparent protest, SDG&E agreed and it blacked out some 250,000 customers overnight. Keep mind, SDG&E only serves 1.1 million customers. So that is a lot of customers! So what REALLY happened here? So far, the whole truth hasn't been divulged by either SDG&E or CAISO.