CPUC Issues Proposals To Ensure Winter Reliability in Southern California
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today issued a proposal and an alternate proposal on ensuring sufficient natural gas supplies for gas and electric customers in the Los Angeles Basin this winter to maintain energy reliability. The proposals will be considered at the CPUC’s November 4, 2021 Voting Meeting.
Both proposals would allow for increasing the amount of natural gas to be stored at Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, located in the County of Los Angeles, in order to meet the existing needs and maintain energy reliability in the Los Angeles Basin while the CPUC continues to consider what actions, resources, and infrastructure are needed to close the facility.
An Administrative Law Judge’s proposal, formally called a Proposed Decision (https://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M411/K231/411231567.PDF), would authorize SoCalGas to increase the working gas storage capacity at Aliso Canyon to 68.6 billion cubic feet (Bcf), the maximum amount allowable to ensure safe operations, as determined by the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM). Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves’ proposal, formally called an Alternate Proposed Decision (https://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M411/K231/411231568.PDF), would authorize SoCalGas to increase the working gas storage capacity in the field to only 41 Bcf and ensure SoCalGas meets minimum reliability needs for the region.
Members of the public can comment on both proposals on the proceeding’s Docket Card at: https://apps.cpuc.ca.gov/apex/f?p=401:56:0::NO:RP,57,RIR:P5_PROCEEDING_SELECT:I1702002.
The CPUC’s Commissioners are scheduled to vote whether to approve either the Proposed Decision or the Alternate Proposed Decision at the CPUC’s November 4, 2021 Voting Meeting.
“As we transition to a clean energy economy, we need to ensure energy reliability. We must do so in a manner that does not detract from our mandate to ultimately reduce our reliance on natural gas infrastructure like Aliso Canyon. The 41 Bcf limit is safe and reliable, and it will allow us to get through this winter while we continue our progress toward planning how to reduce or eliminate our use of Aliso Canyon by 2027 or 2035, or anytime in between,” said Commissioner Guzman Aceves, the Commissioner assigned to the proceeding.
The proposals issued today are part of the CPUC’s proceeding to determine the feasibility of closing the Aliso Canyon facility and to determine the most effective way to maintain energy reliability if it is closed. The CPUC’s consultants, FTI Consulting, Inc., have been modeling scenarios to inform potential paths to replace the Aliso Canyon facility. FTI will present its findings at a public workshop on November 3, 2021, and provide a report by the end of the year.
The CPUC has also been acting to reduce the need for Aliso Canyon in other venues. On August 17, 2021, the CPUC’s Integrated Resource Plan proceeding asked for public comment on whether there are initial actions the CPUC should take this year, prior to the completion of the full Aliso Canyon analysis, to address interactions between the electricity and natural gas systems in the Los Angeles Basin. That Ruling is available at: https://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M399/K450/399450008.PDF. The CPUC also has proceedings underway to plan for statewide decarbonization and decreased fossil gas use.
Also, in an upcoming study of how the California electric transmission system will need to change to meet the State’s goal of serving 100 percent clean energy by 2045, the CPUC, the California Energy Commission, and the California Independent System Operator are studying scenarios that include the unavailability of the Aliso Canyon facility. Information on this study is available at: https://stakeholdercenter.caiso.com/RecurringStakeholderProcesses/20-Year-transmission-outlook.
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.