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Calif. Sets Record for Electricity Use

by Associated Press
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - July 19, 2004

FOLSOM, Calif. -- Three years after a wave of blackouts, California set a record for electricity use Monday - but the system held steady, the state's power grid manager said.

The spike in demand nonetheless caused the California Independent System Operator to call for energy conservation as a heat wave was expected to hit northern California later in the week.

"The most remarkable aspect of that is we were not in a major heat wave today," ISO spokeswoman Stephanie McCorkle. "There's a lot more load out there than you would normally see."

The record was attributed to temperatures that topped 90 degrees in much of the state, a rebounding economy and the state's rapid population growth.

At 4:26 p.m., demand reached 44,042 megawatts of electricity, breaking the previous record of 43,609 megawatts set on July 12, 1999, the ISO said.

Three years ago, parts of the state experienced blackouts as power supplies failed to meet demand and grid managers tried desperately to import additional energy from around the West.

California officials attributed that energy crisis in part to companies manipulating the market to drive up prices.

Construction of new power plants has helped ease peak demand and cut the number of alerts issued when reserves dip low and blackouts are possible.

The ISO ordered power plants not to perform any unplanned maintenance or repairs until temperatures begin to cool.

Associated Press
Calif. Sets Record for Electricity Use
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 19, 2004

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