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IID assures plenty of power for summer heat

February 06, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Imperial Irrigation District officials say they are well-prepared to meet the demands for energy this summer.

IID Executive Officer Brad Luckey said this morning district power customers in the Imperial and Coachella valleys do not need to fear the rolling blackouts that have affected other parts of the state.

"From a control standpoint at the district the summer is covered with no problem." Luckey said.

During the summer, when temperatures soar over 100 degrees in the area, IID power use reaches its peak.

Last summer IID peak use was about 700 megawatts. One megawatt is enough to supply power to 1,000 homes.

Luckey said power use this summer is not expected to climb much beyond the 700-megawatt mark. However, he said variations in the weather could play a pivotal role in the power use.

Still, IID has enough energy to supply up to 800 megawatts.

The district's power plants can supply up to 500 megawatts of power. In addition, IID has power contracts to receive 300 megawatts from suppliers outside the state.

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In addition, IID is taking part in an exchange program with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in which IID supplies energy reserves to DWP during the winter and DWP supplies reserves to IID during the summer.

IID Director Bruce Kuhn said, "We've done pretty much what we can do for the short-term. We have the resources to get us through."

Kuhn did say one concern he has relates to actions state officials might take to solve the state's energy crisis.

He pointed to the state tapping into money set aside to line the All-American Canal as an indication of how the district could be hurt by the power crisis.

"I cannot guarantee what the state will do," Kuhn said.

Much of the state has faced rolling blackouts as energy supplies have reached critical levels and the state has called for ongoing Stage 3 power alerts. A Stage 3 alert means at any given time the state can implement rolling blackouts to control power consumption.

IID has not been affected by such blackouts because it is isolated from the power grid that connects most of the state.

IID has not been isolated from the rising cost of supplying energy. The rising cost of natural gas, the fuel source for the district's power plants, has caused IID to increase the energy cost adjustment portion of power bills.

That means people can expect to see their bills increased by 8 percent per month through the summer.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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