California Secures Power But Trouble Still Looms

US DOE Secretary Bill Richardson orders power diverted from federal hydroelectric dams to prevent grid collapse. Measures viewed as temporary bandaids only.

Published: 13-Dec-2000

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - California's electricity emergency worsened dramatically on Wednesday when power suppliers threatened to halt sales to California for fear they might not be paid by the state's biggest utilities, now strapped by billions of dollars of power costs.

With the California grid operator threatening to order unprecedented rolling blackouts Wednesday afternoon because of tight supplies, U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson took the rare action of ordering power diverted to California from federal hydroelectric dams in neighboring states.

Officials at the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages most of the state's power grid, said they received about 5,000 megawatts of hydropower from out of state shortly after the ISO warned the grid was about to crash.



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