Riverside (CA) Rejects Rolling Blackouts

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Riverside Rejects Rolling Blackouts

City Says It Can Supply Its Own Power Needs

Paul J. Young, Staff Writer May 24, 2001, 7:04 p.m. PDT

RIVERSIDE, Calif. --

The city of Riverside says it has the power to keep the lights on this summer and refuses to participate in the hundreds of hours of rolling blackouts that are predicted across California in the next few months. The Riverside City Council voted Tuesday night against using blackouts to conserve energy on peak demand days for electricity. Residents of the area have vivid memories of the forced outages last March 19.

"We were seeing patients like normal, and then the lights went out," Dr. Tom Davis recalled for CBS 2 News.

He said that when he and his office staff couldn't see to work, they took patients into a nearby waiting room where there was natural light.

More than 20,000 people lost their electricity for an hour during the March blackout.

"The city is essentially saying that we have our own kind of resources, and we think that our citizens should keep their lights on," Loveridge said.

City leaders have allotted more than $3 million in taxpayer dollars to develop better methods of conservation.

But that may no be enough to mollify the Cal-ISO, which manages the state power grid, or Southern California Edison, whose transmission lines are utilized by Riverside.

Both entities could sue the city for failing to obey blackout orders, according to CBS 2 News.

But in a gesture of compromise, the Riverside City Council has promised to work on freeing up power for the whole state by pumping more megawatts from its municipal generating facilities.

"We will go to the max to reach what we have the capacity to do," Riverside spokesman Tom Evans told CBS 2 News. He said the city can afford to divert 20 megawatts a day to the state. "At that point, we will say the rest of the power was purchased for the benefit of customers in Riverside, and that's where it's going to stay."

The Cal-ISO is still calling on the city to help ease the load on the grid when it's needed.

Edison has not yet decided how to respond to Riverside's position, according to CBS 2 News.

-- PHO (owennos@bigfoot.com), May 25, 2001

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