California power company must give blackout warnings : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

California power company must give blackout warnings,2107,500468725-500717046-503984488-0,00.html

By KAREN GAUDETTE, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (March 29, 2001 5:30 p.m. EST) - State regulators ordered California's biggest utility to warn its San Francisco customers before instituting rolling blackouts so that police, fire and emergency services can prepare.

Meanwhile, Gov. Gray Davis asked lawmakers Thursday to approve spending an additional half-billion dollars on buying electricity, raising to $4.7 billion the amount of state money committed for buying power.

The state is burning through money so fast trying to keep the lights on during its energy crisis that it could soon find itself with a cash shortage of $7.4 billion, according to state Controller Kathleen Connell.

The Public Utilities Commission order, issued Wednesday, was prompted by San Francisco's request that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. detail where blackouts will occur so that police, fire and medical workers can respond rapidly to power-related emergencies.

During rolling blackouts in January and March, cities sometimes had only a 10-minute warning before traffic lights, elevators and hospitals lost power. Law enforcement and emergency workers throughout the state said it was not enough time to mobilize.

The utilities have not given specific information, fearing that rioting and other crime could follow.

PG&E did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

-- Swissrose (, March 29, 2001

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