SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Nearly all the blackouts that swept California during the state's energy crisis could have been avoided, according to a report that accuses power generators of holding out electricity when the state needed it most.
All Southern California blackouts and 65 percent of Northern California blackouts occurred because generators ramped down production at their power plants, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the California Public Utilities Commission and Portland-based McCullough Research.
On all but two of the 32 statewide blackout or service interruption days between November 2000 and May 2001, the state's five largest non-utility electricity generators were not operating at maximum capacity, according to commission President Loretta Lynch.
"The only reason that is imaginable as to why generators would not generate power ... is because they thought that withholding (energy) from the market would drive the price up," said the PUC's general counsel Gary Cohen.
The report was presented Tuesday to a state Senate panel in charge of investigating possible energy price manipulation. It's based on information obtained through the committee
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