December 11, 2000
Two Northwest governors urge conservation during cold spell
OLYMPIA - The governors of Washington and Oregon today called upon citizens and businesses in those states to begin conserving as much electricity and natural gas as possible immediately in anticipation of a deep cold spell expected to arrive on the west coast on Monday.
"A number of factors are combining in the next few days that require us to ask people to begin conserving power immediately," said Washington Gov. Gary Locke. "Voluntary conservation today may mean we'll avoid disruptions when the cold weather arrives Monday."
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said, "Cold weather and a tight energy supply make it especially important that people in the Northwest reduce their energy use as they go about their day. Even the smallest acts of conservation will add up to help us through this situation."
"I urge every family and every business to take some simple steps that will help immensely to avert disruptions," Locke added. He urged people to cut energy use from 5 to 10 percent by:
* Turning off lights in empty rooms;
* Turning on Christmas lights after 8 p.m. and turning them off before going to bed;
* Turning off computers, radios and televisions when not in use;
* Turning heaters down to 66 or 67 degrees and wearing sweaters indoors;
* Using microwave ovens instead of electric stoves;
* Running dishwashers before bed instead of during peak periods;
* Turning down water heater thermostats;
* Using one appliance at a time.
Locke has directed state agencies to take steps to curtail energy use. The Capitol dome lights have been turned off. The Capitol Christmas lights will be on only during off-peak hours, from 8 to midnight, to conserve energy. The governor will issue further directives to state agencies for further curtailment of energy use.
"It's important to use as little electricity as possible during peak hours, which are from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.," Locke said.
"Normally we can buy power from California at this time of year," Locke stated. "But that state is experiencing a variety of problems and it has no power to sell."
Locke explained a number of factors have been combining in the region to cause increasing concerns about energy supplies during peak demands, including
€ The Bonneville Power Administration cannot generate enough electricity for the growing population of the region;
€ The extension of a natural gas pipeline from Canada to Washington to the Chicago area now means state residents must compete with the Midwest to purchase gas;
€ Deregulation at the federal level and in California and other states has removed the incentive for some utilities to build new power plants for "peak demand" production;
€ Transmission systems need to be upgraded to deal with increasing demands.