UPDATE --Cal-ISO Declares Stage I Emergency (CA)

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Cal-ISO Declares Stage I Emergency; SCE Joins Appeal for Conservation as State Power Reserves Fall Below 7%

ROSEMEAD, Calif., June 27 /PRNewswire/ -- With state power reserves falling below 7% as temperatures continue to soar, the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) and Southern California Edison are urging everyone to immediately cut back their electricity use to help balance demand and supply for electric power.

"It is absolutely critical for every consumer, every business to reduce their power use now and throughout the remainder of the afternoon," said Pam Bass, SCE's vice president for customer service. "If we all do our part, we can help Cal-ISO manage power supplies and avoid forced outages in local neighborhoods."

Businesses and consumers should keep their air conditioning thermostats set no lower than 78 degrees, reduce office lighting, and use nonessential business equipment and home appliances (e.g., clothes washers/dryers, and dishwashers) only in the morning or evening when demand for power is lower.

This urgent conservation appeal follows a Stage I Emergency declaration at 10 a.m. Tuesday by Cal-ISO, the nonprofit agency that manages most of California's transmission power grid and secures power supplies for 70% of the state's consumers.

A Stage I is declared whenever the state's power reserves fall below 7%. Today's declaration, which remains in effect through 8 p.m., was made because of soaring demand for electricity during a sweltering heat wave.

If power consumption is not reduced to sufficient levels, and reserves drop below 5%, Cal-ISO will declare a Stage II emergency. During that stage, Cal-ISO will direct the state's investor-owned utilities, including SCE, to begin implementing voluntary "load" curtailment programs, under which large industrial, commercial, and agricultural customers, as well as customers on SCE's air conditioner cycling program, have agreed to have their power temporarily interrupted in exchange for reduced rates. Should the situation worsen for any reason, and power reserves drop below 1.5%, Cal-ISO will declare a Stage III Emergency, which has never occurred in California. During this stage, Cal-ISO would direct utilities to conduct involuntary rolling, or rotating, outages for blocks of customers across their service areas until sufficient reserve levels are achieved. "Consumers can play a major role in controlling the situation," said Bass. "It may surprise you how you can conserve and still remain comfortable in the heat while continuing your activities. Your effort counts!"

Following are other effective ways customers can cut their power use and not be greatly inconvenienced:

-- close drapes and blinds to keep out direct sunlight during hot periods; -- use electric fans instead of air conditioning if practical; -- avoid using evaporative coolers or humidifiers at the same time an air conditioner is running; -- run swimming pool equipment during early morning and evening hours; and -- limit the reopening of a refrigerator, which is a major user of electricity in most homes.

An Edison International company (NYSE: EIX), Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving more than 11 million people in a 50,000-square-mile area within central, coastal and Southern California.

SOURCE Southern California Edison Web Site: http://www.sce.com

-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), June 27, 2000

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