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Stage 2 Declared -- Latest Developments

Bay Area may face localized blackouts

"Interruptible" customers may be signaled within the hour

Stage 2 alert comes earlier than expected

(KFWB) -- California's power grid operator has declared a Stage 2 Electrical Emergency. Though officials are not forecasting a Stage 3 Emergency or statewide rolling blackouts, Southern California Edison's Gil Alexander tells KFWB that the power shortage has turned out to be worse than officials predicted earlier this morning.

Edison expects to signal "interruptible" customers to curtail their power use within the noon hour.

There is the possibility of isolated, localized blackouts in the San Francisco Bay area. Edison says the transmission line bottleneck between the northern and southern parts of the state are keeping power supplies uneven.

The state's Independent System Operator expected to declare a Stage 2 by about 1pm, but the order came one and a half hours earlier.

The reason for the power emergency is a familiar one -- higher temperatures and power plants off line.

Though temperatures will be as high as yesterday, power use is forecast to be even higher because trapped heat in homes and offices will use up more air conditioning. Power use is expected to be about 1,000 to 1,500 megawatts above normal, Edison said.

About 9,300 megawatts worth of power generating capacity was off line, Edison said. Two power plant units in Northern California went off line last night. Officials expected to have them working again sometime today, Edison said. Another plant, which has been off line for weeks, is expected to be back in service today, Edison said.

During a Stage 2 Emergency, power officials can ask "interruptible" customers to reduce their power consumption, thus reducing the load on the power grid

-- PHO (, May 31, 2001

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