September 18, 2000 September 18, 2000 ROSEMEAD, Calif., Sept. 18, 2000-Southern California Edison is strongly urging consumers to conserve electricity usage over the next few days as the state continues to cope with a prolonged heat wave complicated by a critical shortage of power reserves. The appeal comes on the heels of an extremely difficult day when energy consumption nearly exceeded energy availability, challenging the power grid, according to state officials. The California Independent System Operator (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 the state faces tight energy reserves this week if high temperatures continue to plague California and the West. "The combination of heat and a high demand for power at a time when the state faces shortfalls makes conservation an absolute necessity this week if we are to keep everyone's lights on," said Pam Bass, SCE senior vice president for customer service. "So we're asking consumers to curtail their electricity use, especially between the hours of noon and 6 p.m., when usage typically peaks in Southern California." The most effective things consumers can do to reduce their power usage is setting air conditioning thermostats no lower than 78 degrees and using nonessential appliances and equipment during off-peak hours, in the mornings or evenings. Following are other effective ways consumers 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; Run swimming pool equipment during early morning and evening hours; and Limit the opening and reopening of a refrigerator, which is a major user of electricity in most homes. # # # An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving more than 11 million people in a 50,000-square-mile area within central, coastal and Southern California.