Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Palmdale Power Mishap Fuels Energy Debate

An accident having nothing to do with recent high demand for electricity caused a blackout which thrust California energy issues into the Gubernatorial campaign.

A power-related failure of the regional air traffic control system in Palmdale led to a major delay at several Southern California airports. And to Angelides -- who, unlike Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, traverses the state via Southwest Airlines rather than private Gulfstream jet -- being stuck on the ground in San Diego on yet another day in which California's failure to completely respond to the inadequacies of our electric power system first unearthed in the power crisis of 2001 had everyone's fingers crossed around the state.

Team Arnold reports that the power-related snafu afflicting Phil Angelides' travel plans from San Diego airport was caused by a car hitting a pole. A back-up generator was engaged for an hour to keep the regional air traffic control system online, but the generator, which is not under state control, unaccountably failed. Which goes to show you, says Angelides advisor Maviglio, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez’s deputy chief of staff on loan for a few weeks to the treasurer’s campaign to upgrade it: "How fragile our system is."

Of course, that was also true when Maviglio’s previous boss, former Governor Gray Davis, was governor and a tree downing a power line in the far north state nearly led to widespread blackouts.