Calif. Power Officials Declare Heightened Alert : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Tuesday January 9 10:05 PM ET Calif. Power Officials Declare Heightened Alert

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California power officials declared a heightened alert as demand peaked on Tuesday evening, prompting outages for some large commercial customers that have agreed to shut down electricity consumption in exchange for reduced rates.

The Stage 2 emergency alert came as power reserves dropped to within 5 percent of the load on the state's electric grid, which is managed by the California Independent System Operator (ISO).

The emergency was declared at 2015 EST and should last until 10 p.m. Pacific Time.

Available power reserves have been tight all day with some California plants shut down and only limited power available from the Northwest, the agency said. Then the ISO said another power supply in Southern California went offline, prompting the alert.

Southern California Edison (news - web sites) spokesman Steven Conroy said the ISO did not disclose what power plants had taken capacity off line, but said as much as 10,000 megawatts of productive capacity were already offline for maintenance.

The agency directed Southern California Edison to reduce its electrical load by more than 1,400 megawatts -- enough power to serve approximately 1.5 million homes.

ISO officials and Southern California Edison, a unit of Edison International EIX.N, appealed to consumers and businesses to dim lights and shut down equipment and appliances if possible.

California has never experienced a full Stage 3 alert, which would be triggered if reserves drop to less than one and a half percent, and could set off rolling blackouts for homes and businesses across the state.

The declaration came as California Gov. Gray Davis took a plan to avert power blackouts and save the state's major utilities from bankruptcy to a top-level meeting in Washington on Tuesday. No news has emerged from the meeting.

-- Rachel Gibson (, January 09, 2001

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