Community Update on the September 6, 2022 Rolling Blackout

Published on September 07, 2022

Community Statement from the City of Palo Alto

Community Update on Yesterday’s Rolling Blackout (Electrical Load Shedding) Following State Energy Emergency Alert

The City is sharing the following community update about the rolling electrical outages that impacted Palo Alto and several other electric utilities who are members of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) Joint Powers Agency yesterday, September 6. The NCPA manages the interface between member agencies and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).

On Wednesday at about 5:45 p.m., the NCPA instructed the City of Palo Alto Utilities to begin implementing load shedding/rolling blackouts. This directive came shortly after the issuance of a high-severity Energy Emergency Alert from CAISO.

NCPA is a not-for-profit Joint Powers Agency that manages the electric load of several local utilities, including Palo Alto, and is responsible for communicating CAISO directives to many of the public utilities in Northern California. Palo Alto Utilities implemented the load shedding in a specific order to minimize customer impact. About 1700 customers were without power from about 6:30 p.m. to about 7 p.m., at which point Palo Alto Utilities was instructed to restore power.

The City has since learned that the CAISO directive may have been delivered by NCPA to City of Palo Alto Utilities and several other agencies prematurely. The City of Palo Alto is aware that NCPA is in communication with CAISO and the Governor’s Office to ensure communication protocols and practices are clear and appropriately dispatched to NCPA members.

Additionally, NCPA issued a news release on yesterday’s energy response, of which a portion of the news release referenced the following:

"At 5:53 pm, NCPA’s dispatch center was contacted by the CAISO with an order our dispatcher understood as a request to shed 46.02 MW of load to help prevent widespread outages. In turn, our dispatcher immediately undertook the process of meeting our commitment to the state by working with our member systems at the Cities of Alameda, Lodi, Santa Clara (Silicon Valley Power), Palo Alto, Healdsburg, and Ukiah to temporarily turn off power to some customers in those communities. Once the outages had been initiated, our dispatcher contacted the CAISO to inform them that the curtailment action had been undertaken, and was then notified there had been a misunderstanding of the initial order. At that time, we immediately began the process of returning the load back onto the system."

“We share NCPA’s regret that this impacted our community and appreciate the patience and support provided through this challenging time,” said Ed Shikada, Palo Alto city manager. “The City is continuing to work on minimizing customer impacts going forward.”

For the full NCPA news release, go here: http://www.ncpa.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/NCPA_EEA3-Press-Release-Final-090722.pdf

The following communications tools can also be used to track outages in Palo Alto:

 

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