Election Section

California residents bump up energy conservation

The Associated Press
Friday July 12, 2002

SACRAMENTO — California’s efforts to conserve energy appear to be working, but it wasn’t enough to keep the state out of the red zone Wednesday, state officials say. 

Electricity demand has fallen by more than 3,000 megawatts since 2000, when the state bumped up efforts to encourage energy conservation, said Richard Katz, energy adviser to Gov. Gray Davis. The amount of energy used in June was 11 percent less than two years ago. 

The supply of energy being produced in the state also jumped by 3,000 megawatts. This year, California has 13 more power plants than last year, with another one coming online this week. 

Conservation efforts and new programs designed to draw energy from businesses during peak hours prevented California from hitting a Stage 3 power alert yesterday, Katz said. 

But state officials warned that California is not yet in the clear. The state is continuing its $50 million advertisement campaign.  

The television ads will target specific groups, including teen-agers who spend more time at home during the summer months. 

A number of other programs have been implemented this year that “adds another layer of security,” said Wally McGuire, coordinator of the Flex Your Power campaign. 

The 20/20 Energy Rebate program was reinstated, in which electricity customers who reduce their energy use by 20 percent will see a 20 percent decrease in their monthly bill. San Diego residents only have to reduce usage by 15 percent to get the same discount. 

The state has also created a coordinated rebate program, in which more than 1,000 retailers across the state offer discounts on energy-efficient lights and home appliances.