U.S. Energy Secretary:steps to avoid summer power outages

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WIRE:04/24/2000 10:55:00 ET Richardson outlines steps to avoid summer power outages

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, stressing the need to protect the reliability of the nation's power supply, announced on Monday six short-term actions to help prevent power outages this summer. "These short-term actions by the Department of Energy...are designed to help keep the lights on this summer," Secretary Richardson said in a statement issued before speaking at a regional "summit meeting" in Hartford, Conn.

Richardson will speak in a series of regional summits with federal, state and local government officials, regulators, utilities and consumers this week to discuss ways to enhance the reliability of our electric system.

The meetings were called to address growing concerns that the power grid is straining to meet rising demand from a growing population and strong economy and to avoid blackouts like the ones that hit several major U.S. cities last summer.

The Department of Energy said in the statement it will:

- work with other agencies to identify opportunities to reduce electric consumption at federal water projects during times of peak demand;

- urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and state utilities commissions to solicit and approve tariffs that will help reduce electricity demand during peak periods. For instance, large industrial consumers could find it to their advantage to sell power back to their utility if it would be profitable;

- explore opportunities for the use of existing backup generators during power supply emergencies to reduce the strain on electric systems and help avoid blackouts;

- conduct an emergency exercise with state and local governments to help prepare for potential summer power supply emergencies;

- work closely with the utility industry to gain up-to-date relevant information about potential grid-related problems as quickly as possible; and prepare public service announcements to provide tips to help consumers reduce electricity use and lower their bills.

On April 24, Richardson will speak at summits in Hartford, Conn., Newark, N.J. and New Orleans, La., and on April 28 he will co-host a summit in Sacramento, Calif.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 24, 2000


Wow! They are really running scared, people. "Growing population," "rising economy," etc. They've been feeding us all this baloney on a regular basis for the past few weeks now.

NOTHING is ever said about the energy factor. 3% lower coal inventories. 11% lower oil. 20% for natural gas (even worse in Canada, which exports natural gas to our Northern states. It's 43% down there; only 31% of their storage capacity now being utilized). 45% for propane. And, a whopping down time of 50% increase for nuke power.

Everybody thought the lights would go out in January. Could that month be July instead?


Right now they can compensate. It's the "in-between" season, and the utilities are only running at about 50% of capacity But, what are they going to do in July in 90-degree temperatures when they are taxed at about 95% of capacity?

Should be a most interesting summer. I hope you all have your battery-operated fans (I've got 6).

-- JackW (jpayne@webtv.net), April 25, 2000.

This does not bode well. I'd much rather lose power in the winter time. The thought of summer without air conditioning fries my bones.

-- Sally Strackbein (Reston, VA) (sally@y2kkitchen.com), April 25, 2000.

Got me enough diesel to last 6 months w/o power, 1 year if I don't run it 24hrs a day, heh-heh-ha!

-- AmAmerican (I_am_free@nowhere.com), April 25, 2000.

Did you all catch the line where Richardson will speak to THREE regional summit meetings in ONE day?

This is getting serious, folks. Time to start reapraising y2k from the ground up.

-- JackW (jpayne@webtv.net), April 26, 2000.

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