December 7, 2000

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Dec. 7, 2000-Southern California Edison is appealing to its residential and business customers to take seriously the winter power crisis declared this week by the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) and to reduce power consumption during late afternoon and early afternoon hours through the weekend.

"State officials narrowly avoided rotating power outages every day this week," said SCE Senior Vice President Richard Rosenblum.  "The situation continues to be very serious, which is why we need everyone's cooperation in conserving energy especially at the most critical periods of the day."

Rosenblum noted that energy demands peaks between 4 and 7 p.m. in the fall and winter.  Consumers are asked to defer evening use of nonessential appliances (washer, dryers, heavy equipment, computers) and postpone holiday lighting until 8 p.m.

"We recognize that the holiday season is an inconvenient time to cut back on electricity use," said Rosenblum.  "We ask simply that customers conserve during those specific periods when they hear that emergency declarations have been issued."

Cal-ISO is reporting several reasons for the unusual winter supply shortage that include:

  • Holiday lighting has increased energy consumption statewide. 
  • A cold snap has hit the Pacific Northwest -and is heading this way-which reduces the amount of surplus supply that otherwise could be exported to California.
  • Less generation due to power plants out of service for scheduled maintenance.

Thus far, Cal-ISO has issued "Stage 2 Emergency" declarations, the middle of three levels of shortage alerts, each day this week. A "Stage 3 Emergency" could result in officials directing utilities to conduct one-hour interruptions of scattered circuits throughout their service territories in order to reduce overall power demand.

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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.