Southern California Power Supply Threatened by Aliso Canyon Disaster, Reveals California’s Over-reliance on Natural Gas

EDF statement from Tim O’Connor, California Oil & Gas Director

April 5, 2016
Lauren Whittenberg, (512) 691-3437,
Julie Dixon, (916) 446-1058,

(LOS ANGELES – April 5, 2016) Multiple state agencies and utilities report a higher risk of power outages in Southern California in the months ahead due to crippled natural gas balancing capabilities stemming from the prolonged shutdown of one of the nation’s largest gas storage facilities.  Nearly 100,000 metric tons of methane, the main ingredient in natural gas and a powerful climate pollutant, escaped into the atmosphere when a ruptured gas well at the Aliso Canyon storage field, owned by the utility SoCalGas, leaked for four months.

The California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, California Independent System Operator and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power also released an action plan on how to preserve regional gas and electric reliability.

“SoCalGas has failed to manage the integrity of Aliso Canyon, and now the reliability of the power system looks to be in jeopardy. Now is the time to end the gas monopoly and put clean energy investments to work like never before.

“Southern California is simply too reliant on natural gas and gas storage provided by one market participant. It doesn’t have to be this way. Out of this crisis, important reforms to the gas market are needed to allow renewable energy, demand response and other low-carbon technologies to compete with natural gas – paving the way for safer, cleaner and more resilient energy.

“And under no circumstances should Aliso Canyon ever be returned to service, even for a short period of time, if the company and the state cannot guarantee that it will be operated safely and with zero leaks, and provide hard evidence to that effect.”

-Tim O’Connor, California Oil & Gas Director, Climate & Energy

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and our Energy Exchange blog