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Power Outage Post Mortem Underway

Audio

Aired 4/8/10

California's electric grid operators have promised to explain how a short but massive power outage occurred in the San Diego region last week. Energy watchers says that review should be done by outsiders.

California's electric grid operators have promised to explain how a short but massive power outage occurred in the San Diego region last week. Energy watchers says that review should be done by outsiders.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) has said the power failure that affected 300,000 homes was caused by a mistake. What isn't known is who decided to shut down the Otay Mesa Power Center when the area's four other power plants were also offline or curtailed, how many people were involved in that decision, and whether there were mechanical failures beyond human error.

The ISO is doing an internal review but Michael Shames of the Utility Consumers Action Network says that isn't sufficient.

"The ISO doing it's own in-house examination isn't going to satisfy the public. I think that it has to be made clear that there are outsiders, entities, individuals or experts who don't work for the ISO who examine what happened and whether and how it can be avoided in the future," said Shames.

The Western Electric Coordinating Council is doing an event analysis but relying on the ISO for data and input. Meanwhile, state Senator Christine Kehoe is calling for a hearing into how the power outage happened.

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