The Otay Mesa Energy Center operated by Calpine for San Diego Gas & Electric. Courtesy Calpine

Natural gas constraints in Southern California could pose a risk to the region’s power supply this summer, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission warned on Thursday.

The agency said restrictions at Southern California Gas’ Aliso Canyon facility, the biggest natural gas storage facility in the state, could pose a risk to gas and electric reliability, especially if hotter than normal weather conditions and unplanned gas pipeline outages materialize during the summer.

California has not allowed SoCalGas, a unit of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, to inject gas into the facility following a leak between October 2015 and February 2016.

Also, new regulations on gas storage facilities imposed by the state are likely to reduce the flow of the fuel, federal agency added.

“Given the abundance of accumulated snow water (in the Western regions), high hydro generation is likely to continue into the early part of the summer, which could be leveraged to reduce gas constraints in Southern California,” the report suggested, adding that snow water equivalent in the region, particularly in California, has been near record levels seen during the 1982-1983 period.

— Reuters

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.