Power Situation Improving @ 5.09.01, 3:20pm

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Power Situation Improving (Power Crisis Special Report)

(KFWB) --

The energy situation has improved slightly this afternoon as additional supplies were secured and temperatures dropped in northern California, said Southern California Edison's Gil Alexander. However, the situation can change quickly as the state enters the power peak period this afternoon and blackouts are still considered "highly likely," said Alexander. The California Independent System Operator (ISO) declared a Stage 2 Electrical Emergency at 11:45am today.

Edison officials warned today may be the toughest of the last three days, but residents in the northern part of the state are using less electricity than expected. Blackouts are still possible because available power levels remain low as other California residents crank up air conditioners to handle the heat. Officials fear the threat of blackouts will remain the rest of the week, as long as the warm weather continues.

Many have criticized utilities for not giving more warning of blackouts, however Alexander says Edison was given two minutes on warning on Monday before it had to implement rolling blackouts. To help customers better deal with a summer of anticipated blackouts, power bills will include circuit group numbers starting in June. Since Edison cuts power in sequence, customers who will most likely be affected will know they are next.

Tuesday's blackouts affected nearly 300,000 homes statewide. Power grid operators called a Stage 3 Power Emergency at 3:10pm Tuesday and ordered the state's private utilities to implement rolling blackouts. Power was restored at 5 p.m.

Residents served by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which is not reliant on the state's power grid, are not affected. 5.09.01, 3:20p

-- PHO (owennos@bigfoot.com), May 09, 2001

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