California – State Issues Power Alert

State officials declared a “flex alert” and asked Californians to conserve power and natural gas until 10 p.m. tonight.

Some power plants in Southern California have cut production after running out of natural gas, said officials with the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state grid. The shortage is being caused by soaring fuel consumption amid cold weather in the eastern U.S.

Tight supplies caused San Diego Gas & Electric Co. to cut off natural gas Thursday at 6:45 a.m. to one power plant in San Diego County, said spokeswoman Amber Albrecht. She didn’t identify the power plant.

The utility is also asking for conservation on Friday as a new storm heads into the Northeast. Those who reduce their power use between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. can earn a bill credit of 75 cents for each kilowatt-hour saved.

More than half of California’s electricity is generated by plants that burn natural gas, and generators use about 45 percent of the state’s total gas consumption each year, according to state figures.

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