January 16, 2001

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Jan. 16, 2001-For the second time today, the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) called upon Southern California Edison and other investor-owned utilities to implement voluntary "load" curtailment programs for certain customers within their service areas.

At the same time, Cal-ISO and SCE are making urgent appeals for all customers to immediately reduce their electricity consumption as the state deals with an energy shortfall.

Cal-ISO, the nonprofit agency that manages 75% of California's transmission power grid and secures power supplies for most of the state's consumers, declared a Stage 3 Emergency Tuesday morning, signifying the state's power reserves had dropped below 1.5%.  The Stage 3 Emergency will be in effect until midnight.

At 5:24 p.m., Cal-ISO directed SCE to reduce its load by 726 megawatts (MW)-enough power to serve approximately 726,000 homes.  Earlier today, Cal-ISO directed SCE to reduce its load by approximately 1,400 MW.  At that time, some customers in the voluntary load curtailment program were asked to curtail load for about four hours.

A Stage 3 declaration could prompt involuntary rotating outages for groups of customers across SCE's service area until sufficient power reserve levels are achieved.

Although rotating circuit interruptions or "rolling blackouts" are not predicted at this time, SCE reminds its customers of the need to take safety precautions during any power outage.  SCE recommends the following measures:

  • Exercise extreme caution, especially at intersections where traffic signals may not be functioning;
  • Use flashlights, not candles, if you are without lights;
  • Turn off all electrical equipment in use at the time of a service interruption, including sensitive electronic components;
  • Leave one light bulb turned on to signal that power has been restored; and,
  • If possible, monitor radio and television news stations to stay informed of developments and safety instructions.

Cal-ISO has declared Wednesday a "Power Watch" day, signifying that power reserves are expected to be slim.  Consumers are urged to continue practicing power conservation while the region copes with a power shortfall.

Businesses, especially industrial and large commercial customers, can help the situation by reducing office lighting, turning off all auxiliary or redundant machinery where possible, and by shifting or staggering operations, if possible.

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An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 11 million via 4.3 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.