Skip to comments.CA: Heat prompts power emergency in Calif. (Rolling blackouts in the offing?)
Posted on 07/24/2006 9:27:40 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
SAN FRANCISCO - Power companies worked to restore electricity to thousands of customers throughout California early Monday as a scorching heat wave threatened to push the state into a power emergency with the potential for more blackouts.
Authorities were looking into several deaths possibly related to the high temperatures, which hit the triple digits in some areas on Sunday.
With temperatures again expected to top 100 degrees, power demand was projected to reach an all-time high Monday and prompt some voluntary blackouts, in which some businesses agree to have their power shut off temporarily in exchange for lower rates, according to the Independent System Operator, California's power grid manager.
Those blackouts could become involuntary if customers don't conserve electricity, said ISO spokesman Gregg Fishman.
"It's actually critical that people conserve power," Fishman said.
Monday's forecast called for high temperatures in northern and central California to reach 111 degrees in Morgan Hills, 110 in Fresno, Stockton and Modesto and 109 in Bakersfield. Southern California's Woodland Hills was expected to reach 106.
No relief was expected until at least midweek, as weather conditions conspired to bake California's normally cool coast for the fourth straight day and bring Midwest-style humidity into the usually arid Central Valley.
Heavy electricity use as people turned up their air conditioners caused blackouts throughout the state over the weekend.
Early Monday, some 100,000 power customers in Northern California and the Central Valley still had no electricity, along with 44,000 in Southern California. That was down from a high of 180,000 customers affected over the weekend.
More than 100 patients were evacuated from the Beverly Healthcare Center in Stockton on Sunday after temperatures reached 115 degrees and the nursing home's air conditioning gave out.
Two patients were hospitalized with heat-related stress one died, and the other was in critical condition, said police spokesman Pete Smith.
Investigators were looking into possible criminal charges, although it was too early to tell whether the facility's operators were negligent, Smith said.
"It was very hot inside the facility, and you have to remember we're talking about elderly and infirm people who can't withstand the heat like a younger person would," he said.
A call to Beverly Healthcare's corporate headquarters in Fort Smith, Ark., was not returned Sunday.
Another Central Valley nursing home, Woodland Skilled Nursing Facility, evacuated its residents when managers realized its air conditioning system wasn't operating at peak capacity, according to the state Department of Health Services. No injuries were reported there.
In Modesto, a patient at Doctors Medical Center died Saturday of heart failure apparently caused by the heat after being admitted with a 106-degree temperature, hospital officials said. Two others were hospitalized with 108-degree temperatures.
In Kern County, authorities were investigating four possible heat-related deaths, including two from the past week.
Bakersfield gardener Joaquin Ramirez, 38, may have died of heat stroke after collapsing on the job late Wednesday. And on Thursday, a woman, whose name was not released, was found dead along a bike path in Ridgecrest.
In Arizona, heat is believed to have contributed to the deaths of two transient men in Phoenix over the weekend. One, believed to be in his 50s, died Sunday, and another, a 28-year-old man, died Saturday.
The deaths came during three days of record-breaking temperatures in Phoenix. The temperature soared to 114 degrees Sunday, breaking the record of 112 degrees set in 1906. Temperatures reached 118 degrees Friday and 116 degrees Saturday, breaking the previous record for both days of 112.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, about 237,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity Monday morning, down from the more than a half-million that were left in the dark last week after strong storms cut the power and temperatures soared into triple digits. Four deaths in the region were attributed to the storms or heat.
In New York, thousands of Queens residents were facing their second week without power because of a blackout that at one point affected 25,000 customers. By Monday morning, electricity had been restored to about 22,000 of those homes, buildings and businesses, utility Consolidated Edison said.
Updated 4:00 PM GMT on July 24, 2006
I don't see Red or Blue states, just Hot states. Whew!
I can vouch for the blackouts. It was 118 on Saturday and 117 on Sunday and our power was out. We had been keeping the air-conditioning at about 82, and conserving energy, but because of where our house is located, they shut off the power. It really has nothing to do with who is conserving and who isn't. It has everything to do with location. Certain power grids that have street lights on them aren't turned off, but any grid without "public" use is turned off.
California ISO Office Energy Conservation Guide
July 24, 2006
Businesses and Office Energy Conservation Guidelines from California ISO:
1. Turn off the computer monitor when you're away from your desk (it's the biggest power drain of your computer system).
2. Turn off the lights and computers in empty offices.
3. Switch off the coffee maker at 10 a.m., leave a full pot and reheat individual mugs in the microwave.
4. Leave half of the room's overhead lighting off --it's a double savings, less light also means less heat so your air conditioner gets a break.
5. Check with your facilities manager that office thermostats are set at 78-80 degrees during the day, 85 degrees or off evenings and weekends.
118 degrees? Wow. Where are you located? Southern CA or Arizona?
My God, be careful.
Seems to me that California better get busy drilling off shore and building refineries along the coast to deliver all that power plants to run the electricity out there.
Cue Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.
I dont think there is a power shortage...there is an infrastructure problem....too many people turning on too many appliances at once, and the lines are too thin to carry all the demand....
Ahh yes the socialism in California has finally reduced it to a third world country. Welcome to Mexifornia, or Calixo.
Correction: "to deliver all that power to the plants to run the electricity out there."
Pelosi: Gov. Davis Kept the Lights on in California During the Energy Crisis
August 15, 2003
Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement on Democratic proposals that may have helped with yesterdays blackout. In 2001, Congressman Sam Farr offered an amendment to the Energy and Water appropriations bill. Republicans rejected similar Democratic proposals during consideration of the House energy bill (H.R. 4) in 2002.
Yesterdays blackout is reminiscent of the California energy crisis, but Governor Davis was able to keep the lights on.
Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) built on the lessons of the California energy crisis and in 2001 proposed $350 million in federal loans and loan guarantees to improve power transmission systems. Tom DeLay railed against this initiative and orchestrated its defeat.
It is vital we address the problems with our energy transmission grid. Over the next 10 years, the Department of Energy predicts that demand for electric power will increase by 25 percent. However, under current plans, electric transmission capacity will not keep pace.
Democratic amendments, like Mr. Farrs, have consistently dealt with major power grid vulnerabilities. It is imperative to improve the reliability of our electric transmission system.
Yep. Also, grids that house fire stations, hospitals, or convalescent hospitals are usually exempt from the rolling blackouts for obvious reasons.
The streetlight thing, as I understand it, is limited to major thoroughfares. They don't want to shut down power on 6 lane expressways, but don't have any qualms with shutting them down in a residential area.
As if blackouts are some big calamity?
They happen every year in the summer in California.
And each year the incumbent governor is blamed for them. It's a Sacramento ritual...a ceremonial beheading...bloodless,by and large.
Criminals posing as state lawmakers rant and rave and make forgettable speeches. Roadside fruitstands do record business and kids cringe at "back-to-school" sales.
The lazy days of summer in California.
Sometimes when I wake up in a bad mood, I stop myself and reflect that things could be worse....
I could be living in California!
I instantly feel better.
Try it. It works!
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