February 14, 2001

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Feb. 14, 2001-The California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) and Southern California Edison are urging customers to immediately reduce their electricity consumption as the state faces a critical energy shortfall.

Rotating outages possibly could be implemented Wednesday morning, Cal-ISO warned, if the demand for electricity is not reduced or new generation isn't found by Cal-ISO.

Cal-ISO has called on SCE to curtail 1,100 megawatts of electricity used by its "interruptible" customers.  These customers voluntarily interrupt their service during electrical emergencies in exchange for a lower power rate.

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, said California's month-long Stage 3 Emergency, which enables the organization to receive additional emergency assistance from state and federal agencies, has been extended through midnight tonight.

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.

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.

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.

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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.