July 10, 2002

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

ROSEMEAD, Calif., July 10, 2002-Because of low reserves and a higher-than-expected demand for power in northern California brought on by an oppressive heat wave, the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) declared a Stage 2 Emergency today due to low power reserves and increased demand for power.  The agency called upon Southern California Edison and other investor-owned utilities to begin voluntary "load" curtailment programs for certain customers within their service areas.

Cal-ISO said the Stage 2 Emergency would be in effect from 3 p.m. through 6 p.m. today.  Cal-ISO and SCE are making urgent appeals for all customers to immediately reduce their electricity consumption so that reserve levels do not deteriorate further.

To achieve this load reduction, SCE activated its voluntary load curtailment program, under which large industrial, commercial, and agricultural customers have agreed to temporarily curtail electricity usage during an electrical emergency in exchange for reduced rates.

Should the situation worsen for any reason, and power reserves drop to critically low levels, Cal-ISO could declare a Stage 3 Emergency, the most critical status, and direct utilities to "drop load," necessitating involuntary rolling blackouts for groups of customers across their service areas until sufficient reserve levels are achieved.


Using the rotating outage group number found on the upper-left portion of their bill, customers can get information on potential rotating outages at www.sce.com after clicking on "Rotating Outage Information" on the right side of the page. A list of likely affected customer groups and communities, geographic maps outlining the specific neighborhoods, practical tips on how to prepare and function safely through outages and other information will appear.  No rotating outages are in effect at this time.

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 12 million via 4.3 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.  For more information on the California electricity market, see www.sce.com.