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Customers Urged To Trim Power Usage Ahead Of Summer Heat

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(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News)

ALHAMBRA (CBS) — State energy officials on Wednesday said simply turning off the lights this summer could determine whether residents will face blackouts.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reports residents are being warned about potential outages after the recent closure of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Officials with the California Independent System Operator, California Energy Commission and Southern California Edison gathered at the Cal ISO control center in Alhambra to urge customers to conserve their power usage ahead of a summer predicted to be hotter than recent years.

Stephen Berberich, president and CEO of Cal ISO, said the San Onofre shutdown was a “major concern”, but plans were already in place to offset any potential service loss.

“Don’t be alarmed, we’ve taken a number of contingency steps to make sure the flow of power continues,” said Berberich.

Berberich was among those on hand to unveil a program that will prompt a flood of emails and TV ads when the state’s energy grid operator declares a so-called “Flex Alert.”

Through messaging on Twitter and other social media, power operators will urge customers to turn off lights, turn down the air conditioning and postpone appliance use until evening during any alert.

San Onofre — which provided enough electricity to power 1.4 million homes — was taken offline after several issues with its steam turbine systems.

“It’s a sizable plant, 1,200 megawatts,” said Linda Zigler with SoCal Edison. “The Huntington Beach units that we brought back on are 450 megawatts, so there’s a little bit of difference there.”

New transmission lines and other moves have replaced that power but authorities say conservation will be crucial in an emergency.

“With all the planning we’ve done and preparation, we think we’ll be able to make it through the summer,” Zigler said.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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