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Stage One Power Alert Issued for California
Publication date: 2002-07-09
(KCBS) - The California Independent System Operator has declared a Stage One power alert, meaning that power reserves have dropped to below seven percent.
Gregg Fishman with the Cal ISO said he did not believe any sort of power alert would be necessary today.
"Even (at one o'clock) I didn't think we would need to get into the Stage One situation," he said. "The demand for power has continued to climb at really an incredible rate, and our reserve margins are falling below what we consider to be acceptable levels."
Fishman said conservation is critical to make sure the power picture does not deteriorate further.
"We're doubling our call for people to go out there right now and turn off unneeded lights and appliances, do what you can to use less power right now, because our reserves are getting very thin," he said.
Fishman told KCBS abnormally high temperatures are causing people to flip on air conditioners and fans, and that is taxing the grid.
"What we're seeing is this regional temperature that is climbing very, very quickly throughout the west and throughout California," he said. "Air conditioners are humming all over the state and all over the west. Available power is in very short supply."
"Some businesses and other large customers are on voluntary programs, where they curtail their usage under these kinds of conditions," but all residents are asked to do their part to conserve.
Earlier today, the National Weather Service issued a heat wave alert for the Bay Area. It was also declared a 'Spare the Air Day.'
KCBS meteorologist Mike Pechner said temperatures will top 100 degrees in many parts of the Bay Area and Northern California this week.
"Temperatures over the next few days in the Bay Area could be the hottest they've been in several years, approaching daily records, and possibly all time records," he said.
"The area of high pressure over us is extremely strong. It has forced the sea breeze well off shore," said Pechner. "Fog and low clouds are not apparent at all. In fact, we have an offshore flow, so we get down slope heating, which adds to the very hot temperatures already associated with this area of high pressure."
Only locations close to the ocean will escape the swelter. Highs at the beaches are expected to reach the 70s.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has designated today a 'Spare the Air Day,' only the second such day of the year. Driving alone and the use of lawnmowers and charcoal barbeques are discouraged.
Firefighters also ask that people do not tamper with fire hydrants, because that can reduce water pressure, leading to a dangerous situation, if a fire breaks out.
People are asked to keep an eye on children, the elderly, pets, and each other, to make sure everyone gets through the heat wave safely.
People working outside should keep water nearby, wear loose fitting, cool clothing, and find shade as often they can.
KCBS reporter Doug Sovern spoke with ER Doctor Barbie Barrett at Mills Peninsula Medical Center, who has already treated a man who came in with heart palpitations, after doing his normal workout at a gym with no air conditioning.
"With the high temperatures, you want to decrease exertional activities, such as running or hiking," said Barrett. "If you're going to do it, you want to take the appropriate precautions. Carry some water with you, wear the right clothes, make sure you're getting plenty of fluids."
Anyone caring for the very old or very young should make sure they have plenty of water and a fan or air conditioner.
ER doctors across the Bay Area expect to remain busy throughout the heat wave treating people with dehydration, hyperthermia, heat exposure, and heart problems.
In addition, power officials ask everyone to conserve energy during the heat wave. People are asked to not use major appliances or gas powered equipment during the peak hours of 4pm and 6pm, and to water lawns and plants in the evening hours, rather than in the middle of the day.
The entire region is expected to see significant cooling this weekend.
-- Anonymous, July 09, 2002
A west coast power alert. The nostalgia almost brings tears to your eyes, n'est pa?
-- Anonymous, July 10, 2002