LADWP Says Gas Pipeline Blowout Means Strong Need to Conserve this Winter

LADWP Manager of Energy Control and High Voltage Stations Donald Sievertson talks about current natural gas shortages at Saturday’s LADWP Neighborhood Council Oversight Committee meeting on Saturday.

By Dan Kegel

Ever since the blowout at Aliso Canyon back in 2015, natural gas supplies in Los Angeles have been tight, and SoCalGas has been asking residents to conserve natural gas during cold snaps.

But the gas company wasn’t the only utility affected.  LADWP also uses natural gas to generate electricity, so the natural gas shortage can also cause power outages…and LADWP has been asking residents to conserve electricity during heat waves, too.

Recently, when two natural gas pipelines were damaged by an explosion near Newberry Springs on October 1st of this year, supplies got even tighter, throwing a kink into the system’s recovery from the Aliso blowout. Donald Sievertson, LADWP’s Manager of Energy Control and High Voltage Stations, who spoke at the LADWP Neighborhood Council Oversight Committee meeting on Saturday, December 2, said the Newberry Springs event left the city with just one of its four natural gas pipelines in operation, which has pushed both the gas and power systems close to the edge.

Sievertson said utilities are working hard to fix the pipelines and mitigate the shortages in many ways, including moving power generation out of the LA basin, routing gas through alternate pipelines, using LADWP’s emergency diesel generators, and maybe even bringing in liquid natural gas via tanker.  But even with all that, he said, a cold snap in December or January could still cause outages.

So don’t be surprised if you see both LADWP and/or SoCalGas urging natural gas conservation this winter.  Sievertson’s takeaway advice was “Don’t take the system for granted — when you are asked to conserve, please do so.”

For more information on SoCalGas’s recovery from the Aliso Canyon blowout, see http://socalgas.com/alisoupdates

For the state’s updates on the recovery, including the aftermath of the pipeline failures, see the slides from the presentation.

The DWP Oversight Committee was formed to ensure that Los Angeles’ neighborhood councils receive the information due to them in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Water and Power and the Neighborhood Councils. The bi-monthly meetings are open to all interested stakeholders, and provide a great opportunity to learn more about the city’s utilities and how they’re managed. Meetings are held at 8:30 a.m. on the first Saturday of even-numbered months, at LADWP headquarters, 111 N. Hope St., in downtown Los Angeles.

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