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Power-Market Flaws Hid California Crisis That Ended In Blackouts

Oct. 7, 2020, 11:00 AM

California officials have confirmed what most people already suspected about the blackouts that plunged nearly 2 million people into darkness in August: Climate change played a role. So did the state’s poor planning in its aggressive push away from fossil fuels.

But for the first time on Tuesday they acknowledged that flaws in the state’s power markets also contributed to the rolling outages -- the first since the Enron-era energy crisis of 2001.

In California’s day-ahead market, where utilities routinely bid for the power they need to serve their customers, activity suggested that demand was much lower than it actually ...