Ca could experience blackouts during summer : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Published Sunday, April 30, 2000, in the San Jose Mercury News

California could experience blackouts during summer SACRAMENTO (AP) -- A heat wave could leave Californians in the dark this summer, federal and state officials say.

``If it's very hot for four or five days in a row, there's a reasonable possibility we could have blackouts,'' said Rich Glick, who is electricity adviser to U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.

Unlike portions of the East and Midwest, California did not suffer widespread power outages last summer. But the state is facing a short-term power shortage.

Four new power plants are under construction, nine others are in the permit-obtaining stage and dozens more are being discussed with the state Energy Commission.

But the first new plant won't begin operation until 2001.

The Independent System Operator, which oversees most of the state's long-distance transmission lines, will issue daily ``power watches'' this summer to predict electricity demand that day.

If there's a shortage, the ISO will tell utilities when to ask their customers to reduce usage by turning up their thermostats to 78 degrees, shutting off swimming pool pumps, putting off washing clothes and stopping other non-essential power uses.

Richardson, who was in Sacramento on Friday to meet with state officials, industry representatives and power conservation experts, said his department is looking for ways to cut power use during peak periods at federal water projects.

He said his agency also wants to encourage power rates that reward conservation, look into coordinated use of backup generators during emergencies, conduct special emergency drills, improve communication about grid-related problems and increase public outreach on energy conservation.

-- Martin Thompson (, April 30, 2000

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