BLACKOUT ALERTS PLANNED EDISON AIMS TO ISSUE 24-HOUR NOTICE.
PALMDALE - Under a plan announced Thursday by Gov. Gray Davis, Southern California Edison is working on giving residents and businesses at least an hour's notice of impending blackouts via the Internet.
Southern California Edison intends to post on its Web site - www.sce.com - lists of the electrical distribution system ``blocks'' liable to be blacked out.
Edison customers can tell if their home or business is targeted by checking the list for their own block number, which is to be printed on their bills starting in early June.
Officials are hoping to have the notification system working by June 15, Edison spokespersons said.
``This county has a history of dealing with unpredictable events and working together is what our plan is,'' said Sheriff Lee Baca, who is working with utilities, state power grid operators and county officials. We are ready to go into action in the event that there is a blackout.''
Edison hopes to post the block numbers as much as 24 hours in advance, though the forecasted blackouts might not occur if enough people conserve or new power sources are brought online, officials said.
Despite concern that advance warnings for areas hit with 60- or 90-minute blackouts might encourage looters and burglars, officials say the concerns are largely unfounded.
A recent trip to Chicago by Baca and Davis gave them a firsthand look at how a large city deals with advance notice, and they said they found no evidence of the types of problems that sparked concern.
Under the governor's plan announced Thursday, the California Independent System Operator - the organization that manages the state's electricity grid - would provide 48 hours warning if blackouts are likely to occur statewide.
Location notifications would give residents 24 hours notice for blackouts in their area.
One-hour warnings would provide the exact location and time of impending blackout.
``Warnings allow law enforcement to send personnel to busy intersections,'' Davis said in his announcement. ``Warnings encourage people to avoid elevators. Warnings help people who run day care to prepare at home.''
Currently, most sheriff's stations receive less than 10 minutes warning and sometimes as little as two that blackouts will hit.
The advanced warning system would offer deputies a chance to monitor intersections that may be dangerous when traffic signals go out, and would allow officials to place patrols in residential and business areas affected.
''We've actually been ahead of the program,'' said Capt. Tom Pigott of the Lancaster sheriff's station. ``A sergeant here, Kim Rupert, has got all the areas designated for blackouts listed so when we receive a warning we can respond quickly.''
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||May 26, 2001|
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