March 29, 2004

ROSEMEAD, Calif., March 29, 2004—With state power reserves falling below 7% and the region coping with unusually high temperatures for early spring, the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) and Southern California Edison are urging everyone to reduce electricity use to reduce their consumption of electricity.

This urgent conservation appeal follows a Stage 1 Emergency declaration by Cal-ISO, the nonprofit agency that manages most of California’s transmission power grid and secures power supplies for most of the state’s consumers.

A Stage 1 Emergency is declared whenever the state’s power reserves fall below 7%.  Today’s declaration, in effect from 1:50 p.m. to 8 p.m., was made because of soaring demand for electricity during a sweltering heat wave and the loss of some power plant generation in California.

SCE is encouraging all consumers and businesses to reduce their power use at this time by keeping their air conditioning thermostats set no lower than 78 degrees, reducing office lighting, and using nonessential business equipment and home appliances (e.g., clothes washers/dryers, and dishwashers) in the morning or evening when demand for power is lower. 

Following are other effective ways customers can cut their power use and not be greatly inconvenienced:

  • close drapes and blinds to keep out direct sunlight during hot periods;
  • use electric fans instead of air conditioning if practical;
  • avoid using evaporative coolers or humidifiers at the same time an air conditioner is running; 
  • operate swimming pool equipment during early morning and evening hours; and
  • limit the opening and reopening of refrigerators, which are major users of electricity in most homes.

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