U.S. Markets closed

Calif. power supply seen as adequate for summer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- State power officials predicted Monday that there should be adequate power supplies in California this summer, but heat waves or wildfires that damage transmission lines could lead to potential problems.

A report from the California Independent System Operator — the agency that operates the state's wholesale power system — warned that reliability could be "marginally more challenging" in San Diego and southern Orange counties, since the San Onofre nuclear power plant has been shut down since last year.

The plant between Los Angeles and San Diego is the largest source of electricity in that region, capable of powering 1.4 million homes. The twin-domed plant has not produced electricity since January 2012, after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of tubes that carry radioactive water.

But the report presented a largely favorable forecast for electricity this summer.

Statewide, electricity supplies have increased from last year, including the addition of power from wind and solar plants.

"Peak demand is forecast to be 2.3 percent higher than the 2012 forecast, but generation additions have kept pace with ... growth," the report said.

The agency says it will call on consumers to conserve if local shortages emerge.

Southern California Edison, which operates San Onofre, has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to restart the Unit 2 reactor and run it as reduced power. SCE does not expect a decision until sometime after June 1, and state power officials have long been planning for a summer without electricity from the twin reactors.