California on brink of power chaos : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Wednesday August 16, 5:53 pm Eastern Time Press Release SOURCE: Southern California Edison SCE Begins 'Load' Curtailment Program for Certain Customers Following Stage 2 Emergency Declaration by Cal-ISO ROSEMEAD, Calif., Aug. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- With the state's power reserves now below 5% and a heat wave still baking the region, the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) declared a ``Stage 2 Emergency'' for the third straight day Wednesday afternoon and called upon Southern California Edison and other investor-owned utilities to begin voluntary ``load'' curtailment programs for certain customers within their service areas.

Cal-ISO said high heat -- as well as the unavailability of 2,122 megawatts (MW) of electricity due to mechanical breakdowns at power plants working overtime to meet high demand -- were factors in the Stage 2 declaration.

Cal-ISO and SCE are making urgent appeals for all customers to immediately reduce their electricity consumption.

Cal-ISO, the nonprofit agency that manages 75% of California's transmission power grid and secures power supplies for most of the state's consumers, said the Stage 2 declaration will be in effect from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. today. The agency directed SCE to reduce its electrical load by 664 MW -- enough power to serve approximately 500,000 homes.

To achieve this load reduction during Stage 2, SCE is required to activate its voluntary load curtailment program, under which large industrial, commercial, and agricultural customers, as well as customers on SCE's air conditioner cycling program, 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 3 Emergency, the most critical status. Cal-ISO would direct utilities to ``drop load,'' necessitating involuntary rotating outages for groups of customers across their service areas until sufficient reserve levels are achieved.

``We can get through this difficult period and possibly avoid a Stage 3 Emergency if we all stick together and reduce power use as much as possible,'' said Pam Bass, SCE's senior vice president for customer service.

The best ways to reduce power consumption at home are to set the air conditioning thermostat no lower than 78 degrees (F) and to give appliances and pool equipment the afternoon off. In addition, turn off lights in any unoccupied room or building, use drapes and shading to keep out direct sunlight, and use fans instead of air conditioning when practical.

Large energy users, such as industrial and commercial customers, can make the greatest impact on the power-supply situation. Besides reducing air conditioning, they should reduce lighting, turn off all auxiliary or redundant machinery where possible, and consider shifting or staggering operations outside the hours of highest electrical demand, from noon to 6 p.m.

An Edison International company, 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.

-- Martin Thompson (, August 17, 2000


Thursday, August 17, 2000

Local news provided by: Metro Networks

Power Supply Drain Expected A heat wave gripping San Diego and the rest of the state is expected to put another drain on available power supplies today. Electricity officials suggest you keep battery-operated radios and flashlights available and caution those using electric life-support systems to check standby facilities and equipment, just in case of blackouts or brownouts. A Stage-Two power emergency was declared yesterday for the third consecutive day due to the high demand for electricity brought on by sizzling temperatures. The California Independent System Operator calls a Stage-Two crisis when power reserves fall below five percent.

SAN DIEGO provider=metronetworks&category=News&article=555749

-- Martin Thompson (, August 17, 2000.

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