July 22, 2005

Energy conservation by customers is critical to avoid higher electrical emergency declaration

 ROSEMEAD, Calif., July 22, 2005—For the second straight day, Southern California Edison implemented its voluntary air conditioner (A/C) “load” curtailment program this afternoon for certain customers within its service area following a Stage 2 Emergency declaration by the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO).

A Stage 2 declaration usually is declared by Cal-ISO when power reserves fall below 5%.  Today’s declaration was declared following the loss of generation supplying the California grid.  Thursday’s declaration was the result of a high demand for electricity and the loss of generating units in the Southland.

SCE’s A/C curtailment program remotely shuts down temporarily the air conditioner units of approximately 155,000 customers during an electrical emergency in exchange for reduced rates.  The program was activated at 1:54 p.m. and can result in a potential load reduction of approximately of 324 megawatts (MW).  One megawatt is enough power to supply approximately 650 homes.

Cal-ISO said the Stage 2 Emergency could be in effect until 8 p.m. today.  Cal-ISO and SCE are making urgent appeals for all customers to immediately reduce their electricity consumption this afternoon and early evening when electricity usage spikes.

Following are some effective ways customers can reduce their power use and not be greatly inconvenienced:


  • Turn off all auxiliary or redundant machinery where possible;
  • Consider shifting or staggering operations outside the hours of highest electrical demand, typically noon to 6 p.m.;


  • Set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees (F);
  • Use electric fans instead of air conditioning if practical;
  • Avoid using evaporative coolers or humidifiers at the same time an air conditioner is running; 
  • Avoid cooling unoccupied rooms;
  • Open windows during evening hours to take advantage of cool breezes;


  • Delay until evening hours the optional use of appliances (dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers), chargers, power tools, and electrical equipment;


  • Limit the reopening of a refrigerator, which is a major user of electricity in most homes;
  • Keep your refrigerator or freezer set at the proper temperature;
  • Be sure to use the “power-saver” switch if your refrigerator has one;
  • Keep the condenser coils behind or beneath your refrigerator/freezer clean (refrigerators represent approximately 25% of the electric bill for a typical residence);


  • Run swimming pool equipment during early morning and evening hours; 
  • Use drapes and blinds to keep out direct sunlight;
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY Star® qualified compact fluorescent bulbs;
  • Always wash a full load of clothes or use the variable water level adjustment for smaller loads; and
  • Be sure your home has adequate insulation.

For more information about electricity conservation and SCE’s energy efficiency programs, go to www.sce.com.

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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 13 million via 4.6 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.