CA - Conservation Program's Flaw Leads To Energy Waste : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Conservation Program's Flaw Leads To Energy Waste (KFWB) 7.02.01, 10:30a

-- Some companies are wasting energy in order to win exemptions from rolling blackouts, because of a flaw in California's energy conservation program.

Some companies have agreed to cut power use by as much as 15 percent in 15 minutes when asked by utilities. In exchange, they are exempted from rolling blackouts.

But the companies have decided to keep power use up at a certain level, even when not necessary, in order to be able to cut power by as much as requested in as short a time as requested.

More than 50 large companies throughout the state have agreed to the conservation program.

The amount of energy being wasted is hard to determine, because few companies participating in the program admit to using excess energy in order to meet conservation targets when called upon.

The California Public Utilities Commission approved the program in May. Utilites throughout the state, including Southern California Edison, are participating in the program.

The loophole that businesses are apparently exploiting is the way the baseline level of energy use is determined. Businesses are asked to cut power by a percentage based on the power use in the 10 most recent days that power curtailment was not called for.

Some businesses are asking for a change in the program to allow businesses to individually negotiate a baseline with the PUC.

-- PHO (, July 02, 2001

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