Monday, August 24, 2020–TURN today demanded an investigation into the recent, rolling blackouts ordered by the state’s ISO on August 14, saying the blackouts, which impacted over 200,000 Californians, were “forecastable and preventable.” TURN also urged Attorney General Beccera to consider whether market manipulation was behind the energy shortages and drastically higher wholesale prices on that date.
“Californians know better than anyone that electric markets can be manipulated, and essential power can be withheld by greedy generators,” said TURN executive director Mark Toney. “While such practices are never acceptable, they are especially egregious during the COVID pandemic, when the majority of the workforce is required to shelter at home, using air conditioning during heat waves at a time where they otherwise would be at their workplaces for a significant portion of the day.”
Toney said that poor planning by the ISO was also of concern to TURN. Noting that “the region has experienced heat waves every summer since 2001 without resorting to rolling blackouts.” With fire season upon us, and customers more dependent on having power at home than ever before, Toney said the need for action was urgent. “We can’t afford to ignore this, or to let rolling blackouts become the norm again. TURN urges the Attorney General to act quickly to get to the bottom of this.”