25 October, 2007

Calvary Navy to the Rescue

One of the two main transfer points for power in Southern California was severed during the fires. When residents began returning to their homes yesterday, demand was expected to exceed supply.

According to a spokesman of San Diego Gas & Electric speaking on KOGO, the U.S. Navy came to the rescue. He said that when ships pull into port, they turn off their own generators and plug into the grid. When SDG&E warned that the system was going to fail, the Navy came back with an idea: power up ships' generators and drop shore power, which they did. The Navy's action freed 100 megawatts of power at a critical moment.

At one point, according to the spokesman, demand was within three minutes of overwhelming the power grid before the downed line was repaired.

UPDATE: Here's a Navy Compass story that mentions the power switch.