AUSenergy News Update 02/12/2014
Feb 12, 2014

In today’s AUSenergy News Update: California residents asked to reduce electricity consumption due to low natural gas supply, a California sniper attack on power station raises domestic terrorism concerns, and an energy benchmarking ordinance is in the works for Madison, Wisconsin.

California residents asked to reduce electricity consumption due to low natural gas supply

Summary: California has been added to the list of states asking their residents to voluntarily reduce their electricity consumption. Last year the decision was made to shut-down a major nuclear power plant in CA, increasing the state’s reliance on natural gas to produce its electric supply. But frozen wells and Texas’ neighboring natural gas needs have decreased California’s supply of natural gas, creating a shortage of electricity generation.
AUS Comment: California and Texas reside in two different electric RTOs – CA-ISO and ERCOT, respectively. ERCOT has been in the news recently as cold temperatures plague the region, leading the RTO to call for voluntary reduction. Demand response initiatives and programs vary by RTO, but natural gas pipelines are shared by these states.

California sniper attack on power station raises domestic terrorism concerns

Summary: FERC is asked to “set minimum security standards for critical substations” after reports of a sniper attack in California last year. Within 19 minutes 17 transformers were disabled and fiber optic cables were cut knocking out emergency services.
AUS Comment: Our electric grid will remain vulnerable until the proper security standards are set in place. But there is still much debate on how these standards should be set, as needs vary greatly between urban and rural areas.

Madison, Wisconsin energy benchmarking ordinance In the works

Summary: The City of Madison is getting closer to having an energy benchmarking ordinance on the books. An ordinance is being put together that would require buildings 50,000 sq. ft. or larger to begin documenting their energy use and seeing how it compares to others across the nation. Many details of this ordinance have yet to be worked out, including such contentious issues as fines for non-compliance and public disclosure requirements.
AUS Comment: AUS provides benchmarking services nationwide, regardless of mandate, including those in Madison.

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