Apr 06, 2016 10:07 AM EDT

California Can Expect Long Summer Blackouts After Sempra Gas Leak

There is a distinct possibility that millions of Southern Californians will be out of power throughout most of this summer due to natural gas leaks coming from the Sempra Energy Storage site.

Unless the concerned energy providers are able to take remedial steps to prevent this massive and long-duration power outages, the residents in this area have no bright prospects to look forward to.

Four separate agencies concerned on the matter have drafted a report stating that without tapping the leaking site, power utility companies will not be able to access enough natural gas in as many as 14 days to supply electricity to the residents of Southern California at certain peak time periods.

The four agencies include the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the California Independent System Operator, the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission.

The storage facility at the Aliso Canyon has only one-fifth of its capacity due to a well leak that started in October. Officials have estimated that it could take several months before it is brought back online. Meanwhile, local power utilities won't have a major source of natural gas.

Los Angeles has 17 power plants that depend on the canyon for their supply of natural gas. Among them are four plants that are operated by the Department of Water and Power.

According to officials, if the supply of natural gas drops, the department's capacity to get electricity coming from its natural gas-powered plants will be adversely affected.

"These pipelines also cannot transport gas fast enough to meet the hour-by-hour or changing demands of power plants during the summer when electricity demand peaks," said Mark Rothleder, vice president of the California Independent System Operator.

There are also recommendations that will mitigate energy shortages such as encouraging consumers to conserve electricity use especially on the hottest summer days. The four agencies welcome comments from the public before they take any remedial actions.

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