Legislation continues interruptible programs

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, March 16, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

For two decades, large electricity users have been offered discounted rates from investor-owned utilities in exchange for agreeing to curtail their electricity service when peak demand threatens grid reliability. 

Numerous times during the energy crisis of 2000-01 and again last summer, these curtailments were what prevented California, or wide swaths of it, from rolling blackouts.

Senator Bob Dutton (R-Riverside) has introduced legislation to continue utility interruptible programs through 2010.  SB 428 requires the California Public Utilities Commission to continue the availability to qualified heavy industrial customers of optional utility interruptible or curtailable service until December 31, 2010, and prohibits, until after that date, the reduction of the level of the pricing incentive for interruptible or curtailable service below the levels in effect on December 31, 2004.

All customers benefit from the willingness of interruptible customers to curtail their operations when emergency conditions exist. These programs are critical for successful management of the state's electric grid and have helped to provide system reliability during peak demand periods since their inception in the mid-1980s. And, more than a dozen times in late 2000 and early 2001, interruptible programs enabled the state to avert rotating outages.

Large industrial and commercial customers benefit from these programs by having additional options by which to manage their electricity loads and costs as well as lower rates.

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