EDITORS: Please do not use
"Pacific Gas and Electric" or "PG&E" when
referring to PG&E Corporation or its National Energy Group.
The PG&E National Energy Group is not the same company as Pacific
Gas and Electric Company, the utility, and is not regulated by the
California Public Utilities Commission. Customers of Pacific Gas
and Electric Company do not have to buy products or services from
the National Energy Group in order to continue to receive quality
regulated services from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
THAT INTERRUPTIBLE CUSTOMER PROGRAM HAS BEEN EXHAUSTED
Conservation is Urged to
Help Keep California from Rotating Outages
SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific
Gas and Electric Company has informed the California Independent
System Operator (CAISO) that the CAISO has now exhausted the entire
2001 annual allowance for the state’s interruptible customer program
contract (north of Kern County).
This condition further calls
for lawmakers and regulators in the state to work expeditiously
for a fair resolution of the energy crisis, which has jeopardized
the safety and economic well-being of Californians and threatens
financial viability of the state’s utilities.
"Conservation is going to
be more important now than ever," said Jeff Butler, Pacific Gas
and Electric Company’s vice president of operations, maintenance
and construction. "We urge all of our customers to do whatever they
can to conserve energy during our current energy crisis over the
next several days. If we all do a little, it may be enough to help
the state avoid rotating outages."
Pacific Gas and Electric
Company has about 170 commercial and industrial customers who voluntarily
signed contracts to participate the program. This amounts to about
400 megawatts. (About 140 customers and approximately 340 mw are
north of Bakersfield.) Under the guidelines of the proposal, customers
can be asked to reduce their usage 30 times a year or 100 hours
a year. In exchange for being the first to have their power curtailed
during shortages, these customers receive a discounted rate.
Under the state’s Electric
Emergency Plan, the CAISO calls upon the program during Stage 2
Emergencies to reduce the chance for rotating block outages. Since
the program has been virtually used up, the CAISO will no longer
be able to call on Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s interruptible
customers to reduce their usage.
"Many times during this
crisis, the interruptible program has made the difference between
keeping the lights on and having rotating outages," Butler added.
"Without these customers voluntarily serving as a buffer, the CAISO
may have to implement the rotating block outage program much sooner
if they are not able to buy enough power to meet the needs of our
"We appreciate the efforts
of the interruptible customers and of all our customers to conserve
energy and help the state get through the crisis," Butler added.
"We understand their inconvenience and want them to know that we
are doing everything we can to ensure public safety during the outages."
The California Public Utilities
Commission created the interruptible program in the 1950s. To participate
in the program, customers must be able to reduce their electrical
usage by 500 kilowatts.
Some conservation tips for
the home and the office include:
Install a clock thermostat.
You can program it to keep the temperature automatically set
at 68 degrees or cooler when the house is occupied and, health
permitting, 55 degrees or off at night and when you’re not at
Turn off PCs, monitors,
printers, copiers, and lights when not in use or not needed.
If you cannot turn off the whole computer, turn off the monitor
and the printer.
Shut off lights in unoccupied
Cook in your toaster
oven, microwave or broiler oven. They use half the energy of
a regular oven.
Caulk and weatherstrip
around doors, windows, and areas where pipes come into the home.
Keep the furnace clean,
lubricated and adjusted. Clean a washable furnace filter or
replace a disposable filter each month in winter.
Insulate your water
heater, turn down its temperature to the "warm" setting or about
120 degrees, and avoid wasting hot water.