Where does Ukiah get its electric power and why does it matter?
Ukiah's electric utility is part of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA). This consortium of municipally owned power companies maintains its own power-generating capabilities, avoiding the open market pricing volatility.
Can I expect electric rate increases?
Ukiah's investments in generation and transmission projects have made it possible to maintain stable electric rates for our customers. However, since the statewide power crises in the summer of 2001, there has been an increase in the costs of power procurement caused by: 1) increased costs of the City's share of power plant operations managed by the Northern California Power Agency, 2) the loss of inexpensive Western Area Power Administration electricity due to the impact of the PG&E bankruptcy, and 3) increased costs of power transmission as administrated by the California ISO.
The City council and staff are trying their best to maintain reliable service at the least possible cost during this period of extreme uncertainty in the statewide power markets.
What makes the situation in Ukiah different from areas served by PG&E?
The City of Ukiah provides electricity to customers through its municipally owned utility, a department of the City of Ukiah.
In 1996, the California legislature voted to deregulate the state's electric power providers. However, municipally owned utilities such as ours were not required to participate in deregulation.
Ukiah's City Council chose not to subject its utility customers to the fluctuations of the open market for electric power by participating in deregulation.
Since we have our own source of power, why are we subject to the possibility of power interruptions?
Our participation in the NCPA insulates us from the financial impacts of market fluctuations. However, we are connected to the state-wide power grid that has been established to maintain a balance of electric power around the state.
For this reason, we are subject to the impacts of power shortages caused by instability on the transmission grid due to equipment problems. In the event of a need to reduce load, the city facilities would reduce load first.
What is a rolling blackout?
Should instability on the state-wide transmission grid occur, electrical service in Ukiah may be affected. A rolling blackout is when electrical service is interrupted in predetermined areas on a rotating basis. The service interruption may last up to an hour and moves in sequence from zone to zone.
Involuntary service interruptions are controlled by the California Independent System Operator (ISO). The amount of time from notification of the power interruption by California ISO to city officials in Ukiah is insufficient to allow individual customers to be notified.
If you're in a vehicle during a power outage, intersections controlled by signal lights become 4-way stop sign intersections. Traffic regulations for 4-way stop sign intersections should be observed.
This page was updated on: August 12, 2007.
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