SCE to Curtail "Load" for Some Customers Following Stage 2 Electrical Emergency Declaration

July 03, 2001

July 3, 2001

ROSEMEAD, Calif., July 3, 2001-With the state and southwestern U. S. coping with high heat and humidity, 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 noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday.  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, at 1 p.m. 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.

Customers can go to www.sce.com to get information on potential rotating outages, a list of likely affected customer groups and communities, and geographic maps outlining the specific neighborhoods.  Customers also can access practical tips on how to prepare and function safely through outages.  An outage hotline-(800) 611-1911-augments the company's Web site.

Following are some effective ways customers can reduce their power use and not be greatly inconvenienced:

LARGE ENERGY USERS

  • 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.;

AIR CONDITIONERS

  • 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;

APPLIANCES AND TOOLS

  • delay until evening hours the optional use of appliances (dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers), chargers, power tools, and electrical equipment;

REFRIGERATORS AND FREEZERS

  • avoid unnecessarily opening refrigerators;
  • 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);

ADDITIONAL TIPS

  • run swimming pool equipment during early morning and evening hours;
  • limit the reopening of a refrigerator, which is a major user of electricity in most homes;
  • 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 11 million via 4.3 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.