The California Independent System Operator, which manages most of the state's power grid, on Wednesday said it would reduce its transmission charges by about 15% next year after cost-cutting measures that would shrink its workforce by almost 16%.
Separately, Cal-ISO warned that a heat wave in much of the state could cause electricity reserves to fall below 7%, triggering a so-called Stage One alert. Cal-ISO urged conservation but said that it expected to have enough power to meet demand.
As it faces a summer of potential electricity problems, particularly in Southern California, Cal-ISO is working to lower operating costs so that it can reduce its grid management charge on electricity moving over its wires.
"The California ISO must mature from a start-up organization ... into a world-class organization that is well-positioned to tackle transmission infrastructure challenges in a more timely and effective manner," Chief Executive Yakout Mansour said.
Cal-ISO said it would lower its grid management charge to 73 cents a megawatt-hour in 2006, down from the current 85 cents. The not-for-profit agency said the charge should fall to about 60 cents by 2010.
The power grid operator said a total of 95 jobs would be eliminated, taking its workforce to 517 people from 612. Cal-ISO said that 48 employees had been released in the last two weeks and that many vacant positions would not be filled.
Cal-ISO, created as part of the state's plan to open up its power markets for competition in 1998, doesn't control supplies for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and some other municipal utilities.
Reuters was used in compiling this report.