Will Ladwp Shut Off Power 2023?

Will LADWP shut off power 2023?

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is the largest municipal utility in the United States, providing water and electricity to over 4 million residents in Los Angeles. In the early 2000s, California experienced an energy crisis that led to rolling blackouts across the state. This was caused by electricity market manipulations, capped retail electricity prices, and a drought that reduced hydropower generation. During this time, LADWP stepped in to sell power to the state and help alleviate the crisis. Since then, LADWP has worked to improve its power generation and delivery systems to ensure reliability for its customers.

Rolling Blackouts in California

California experienced rolling blackouts in 2000 and 2001 during the California electricity crisis. This was caused by electricity market manipulation and capped retail electricity prices https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000%E2%80%932001_California_electricity_crisis. The manipulated electricity market caused a shortage in supply and volatility in prices. With retail prices capped, utility companies could not cover the rising wholesale costs, forcing them to periodically shut off power to certain areas to avoid overloading the grid.

The first statewide rolling blackout occurred on March 19, 2001, affecting over 1.5 million customers https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/blackout/california/timeline.html. Further rolling blackouts continued through the summer of 2001 during peak energy usage times. In total, there were 38 different days when rolling blackouts occurred during the crisis. The situation was finally resolved as the state stepped in to purchase power and eventually raised retail electricity rates.

Causes of Rolling Blackouts

Rolling blackouts in California are primarily caused by an imbalance between electricity supply and demand. During times of peak demand, usually hot summer days when air conditioner use is high, the demand for electricity can exceed the available supply.

According to California’s grid operator, the main factors leading to supply shortfalls and blackouts are:

  • High electricity demand from homes and businesses using air conditioning.
  • Lack of reliable baseload power generation, like shuttered natural gas and nuclear plants.
  • Reduced output from solar panels late in the day when demand is still high.
  • Limited ability to import electricity from neighboring states also experiencing high demand.

Essentially, peak summertime electricity demand can outpace the available supply from power plants and imports, forcing rolling outages to avoid complete grid failure.

Steps to Avoid Blackouts

California has taken several steps to avoid rolling blackouts and prevent power outages. Two key efforts have focused on conservation and securing additional power supply.

Conservation efforts aim to reduce electricity demand during peak hours. The California Public Utilities Commission has expanded “flex alerts” to notify customers of conservation needs during heat waves. Customers are encouraged to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using major appliances, and turn off unnecessary lights. Some utility companies have introduced incentives and rebates for customers who conserve during peak times.

California is also working to secure additional power supply. In 2021, regulators approved funding to add 500 megawatts of battery storage by August 2022 to store solar power. New solar and wind projects are being fast-tracked. The state plans to install at least 12 gigawatts of new battery storage by 2035. These efforts help provide backup power during peak demand.

LADWP 2023 Forecast

According to the latest California Energy Commission’s Electricity and Natural Gas Demand Forecast, LADWP’s demand for electricity is projected to be 22,382 GWh in 2023. This represents around a 1.9% increase from 2022’s projected demand of 21,971 GWh.

On the supply side, LADWP expects to have sufficient resources to meet projected demand in 2023. Their total dependable generating capacity is forecast at 7,573 MW in 2023, with around 33% coming from renewable sources like solar, wind, and geothermal. Key additions in 2023 include the 150 MW Puente Hills Energy Storage project which will help integrate more renewables.

While overall supply is expected to meet demand, LADWP’s localized forecasts show some uncertainty. The baseline scenario forecasts a need for between 300 MW and 900 MW of additional resources in the West LA area by 2023 to avoid shortfalls. However LADWP plans to address this through accelerating battery storage deployments in the region.

Potential for Blackouts in 2023

According to recent reports, California is less likely to experience rolling blackouts in 2023 compared to previous years. Experts say the electricity supply outlook has improved as more solar, wind, battery and geothermal plants come online. California’s grid operator has also strengthened coordination with utilities and developed better demand response programs to conserve energy when supplies get tight.

However, the risk of outages cannot be completely ruled out. California’s demand for electricity continues to rise faster than capacity in some regions. The state has also faced challenges ramping up renewable energy sources quickly enough to replace aging fossil fuel plants. High temperatures and wildfires remain ongoing threats to transmission infrastructure as well.

Overall, state leaders are cautiously optimistic about avoiding blackouts in 2023. But they continue to urge residents to conserve electricity and prepare contingency plans just in case events beyond their control lead to service interruptions.


LADWP Plans to Avoid Blackouts

LADWP has outlined several strategies focused on securing additional supply and reducing demand to avoid blackouts in 2023 (LADWP Briefing Book). These plans include:

Securing Additional Supply:

  • Adding 1,800 megawatts of battery storage capacity by 2025 to store solar and wind energy for use when renewable sources are not generating
  • Procuring additional power imports and developing new local renewable energy sources
  • Upgrading infrastructure like transmission lines and transformers to maximize transfer capacity

Reducing Demand:

  • Expanding energy efficiency programs to reduce customer demand during peak hours
  • Using smart meters to notify customers of Flex Alerts and request voluntary reductions in energy use
  • Employing load shedding programs that cycle power to neighborhoods in a controlled manner during emergencies
  • Installing smart thermostats and appliances that can modulate energy use based on grid signals

LADWP is committed to investing in both supply and demand initiatives to keep the lights on in 2023.

How Customers Can Prepare

There are several steps customers can take to prepare for potential blackouts in 2023:

  • Practice energy conservation – Turn off lights, unplug devices, adjust AC to 78+ degrees, and avoid using major appliances during peak hours from 4-9pm.
  • Have backup power ready – Get portable chargers, generators, and/or solar panels to provide electricity during an outage. Make sure generators are operated safely outdoors.
  • Have cash on hand – Without power, ATMs and credit card readers may not work. Have some cash available for essential needs.
  • Fully charge devices – Make sure cell phones, laptops, and other devices are fully charged ahead of a potential outage.
  • Store water – Fill sinks and tubs with water in case water service is interrupted.
  • Stay informed – Sign up for outage alerts from LADWP and follow them on social media to get real-time updates.

Taking proactive steps like these can help customers endure disruptions and maintain essential functions if rolling blackouts occur in 2023.

Expert Opinions

Energy experts have offered cautious optimism about avoiding blackouts in 2023. Elliot Mainzer, CEO of California’s grid operator, said “We are better positioned this summer compared to last year” (LA Times). The California Energy Commission’s vice chair Siva Gunda predicted “no shortfalls under average conditions” for 2023 (ABC7 News).

However, experts warn that above-average temperatures or unforeseen events could still strain the grid. An energy research firm director cautioned “The risk didn’t go away, it’s just smaller” (Reuters). While preparations have been made, experts emphasize the grid’s fragility and need for long-term solutions.


Although the chances for rolling blackouts in 2023 cannot be ruled out entirely, especially during peak energy usage times, LADWP seems to be taking the necessary steps to prevent widespread and long-lasting outages. By investing in infrastructure upgrades, bringing renewable energy sources online, calling for conservation during high demand, and having action plans in place, LADWP aims to keep the lights on across its service area.

That said, customers should be prepared for the possibility of localized and temporary disruptions during heat waves or unforeseen events. Having an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, and cash on hand is prudent. Identify backup charging methods for phones and devices. Know how to manually open electric garage doors. And check on elderly or vulnerable neighbors during outages. With smart preparation and conservation, Los Angeles can make it through the summer of 2023 with minimal disruption.

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