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Posted: 3/15/2001 11:30:21 AM EDT
Energy Secretary: Calif. Blackouts Inevitable This Summer

.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (March 15) - Power blackouts ''appear inevitable'' in California this summer and could spill into neighboring Western states, the Bush administration says, even as stocks of a gasoline additive raise concerns of another summer of price spikes at the pump.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham told a Senate hearing that the administration is trying to find ways to increase power supplies in the West, where prices have soared because of shortages. The administration strongly opposes price controls, he said.

''The problem will get worse, and blackouts this summer appear inevitable,'' Abraham said. The administration's hope is that ''California doesn't start a wave of blackouts that go beyond its borders,'' he said.

Abraham announced no specific actions to ease the Western electricity crunch, although he said he has discussed the possibility of a small amount of additional power being obtained from Mexico.

He gave the administration's strongest declaration to date against imposing price controls on wholesale power sales in the West, despite pleas from California and the Northwest that federal intervention in ''a broken market'' was essential.

''Let me be clear on this,'' he told a hearing on price control legislation, ''Any action we take must either help increase supply or reduce demand. ... Price caps will not increase supply or reduce demand.''

He said that California tried price controls and prices soared. He said the debate over wholesale prices is diverting attention from the need to find ways to increase supplies and prevent blackouts.

''I believe in the free market,'' responded Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., but in California and the rest of the West ''what we now have is a broken market and a duty to do something.''

''All we're asking for is help to prevent price gouging,'' added Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. She said her state faces a likely shortage of 5,000 megawatts of power during peak demand periods this summer.

One megawatt supplies about 1,000 homes.

Smith and Feinstein have proposed legislation to require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to limit prices charged by power generators across 11 states in the West. Wholesale electricity in California averaged $228 a megawatt in February, eight times what it cost a year earlier.

Meanwhile, there was growing concern that this summer may bring another series of price spikes for gasoline, although many energy experts said it was too early to tell if it will be another season of $2-a-gallon fill-ups.

The Energy Information Administration forecast average gasoline prices this summer of $1.49 a gallon, about a dime higher than in recent weeks. But those numbers could change if gasoline supplies lag, or there emerges a shortage of additives to meet air pollution requirements in major cities.

Link Posted: 3/15/2001 11:31:38 AM EDT
''Gasoline inventories are below the average expected range. It's something we've got to keep an eye on,'' said Jonathan Cogan, a spokesman for the EIA.

Refiners traditionally step up gasoline production in late March and April to build up stocks. But refiners reportedly are behind schedule in producing MTBE, the clean air additive, because of this winter's high natural gas demand. MTBE is derived from natural gas.

Such a shortage could cause havoc in gas supplies for major cities that must use the additive because of pollution. Last summer shortages of reformulated gasoline in Chicago and Milwaukee were blamed for gasoline price spikes beyond $2.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., has become so concerned that he called in Abraham and Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Whitman for a meeting Thursday to discuss the issue.

But on the other side of the Capitol, the Western electricity problems dominated the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

Washington Gov. Gary Lock, whose state has been hammered by soaring power costs, said rates could jump as much as 200 percent this summer as supplies dwindle. The region, which relies heavily on hydroelectric power, is in the midst of a drought and may face California-like rolling blackouts this summer.

The high prices and shortages ''will cripple the agriculture economy of our state,'' he told the senators, pleading for federal intervention to control wholesale power prices. ''We simply need a timeout.''

But Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, said, ''We cannot continue to send false signals to the market'' by holding back prices. He said his state is facing 35 percent higher power costs, more than consumers in California who are protected by retail price controls.

Indeed, Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, said people in 37 states have higher electricity bills than California.

Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric, the two utilities that have come close to bankruptcy, have accumulated nearly $13 billion in losses because the state's 1996 deregulation law prevented them from passing most of the higher costs of wholesale energy on to customers.

AP-NY-03-15-01 1421EST

Link Posted: 3/15/2001 11:43:06 AM EDT
The obvious solution for the gas problem is to get rid of the MTBE requirement!  The stuff is already a known carcinogen, its not safe anyway.
It wont hurt us to go with slightly dirtier air for one summer.

But nothing can be done about the power problem except build more power plants and that wont happen in a year.  They had better damn well take steps to disconnect California before it drags the rest of us down.  I had to spend one full 24hr period in 110 degree heat with no power last summer due to a thunderstorm ripping down 5 miles of power polls.  I [i]dont[/i] want to do it again!  It was the most miserable experience of my life.

Hope you all kept all your Y2K supplies.
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 11:53:56 AM EDT
I would give a box of .38 to see what happens when the goatee head's computers stop working from dead UPS batteries and then find out that the coffee machines at starbucks aren't working.

What are they going to do, go looting the nearest Old Navy store and break windows with their birkenstocks?
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 12:17:34 PM EDT
I live 20 miles from the largest coal fired power plant in the world.  It consumes 40,000 tons of coal in 24 hours at full tilt.

In spite of the above, Georgia Power is building a gas turbine powered generating station 17 miles south of me.

What do you suppose they know here that the pinheads in La La Land don't?

I hope the summer in the People's Republic is the hottest on record.

Kalifornia Dreamin... [;D]
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 12:33:05 PM EDT
I live in this once great state of Kalifornia.  I have four things to say about this power shortage.

1. A lot of old people are going to die this summer.

2. Auburn Dam.....Build it yesterday.

3. Nuclear power is the true answer.

4. MTBE caused way more problems then it solved.

This situation is very grave, and it takes years to build large power plants.  It is because of the envirowachies that we are in this dilema.

Link Posted: 3/15/2001 12:45:08 PM EDT
So far LA has been spared this problem, because the City DWP runs the power grid there and has long term contracts with suppliers.  However, I doubt that it will protect them when demand goes up and there is NO extra power to be had on the open market.

What do you think O-Town and South Central and Compton are going to be like if it gets into the triple digets, or even the 90's, and they loose power.

We were all very suprised back in 94 after the Northridge earthquake.  Crime simply stopped for eleven days afterward.  There was nothing, no armed robberies, no murders, hardly any looting- and the few who tried were caught.  Then on the 12th day there was a murder and things quickly went back to normal after that.  And this was without the National Guard.  Will people behave like that, or will they take the oportunity to pillage?
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 2:05:43 PM EDT
All your power are belong to us!

Red Davis has already issued an EXECUTIVE ORDER (eeeeeek! Oh no! another EO!) to phase out MTBE.
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 2:10:40 PM EDT
How could they do that?  Its federal EPA regulations that require the additives, isnt it?
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 2:14:23 PM EDT
The only solution is to build a fence around California and let none of them into the United States. The US would do fine without California, and they are all so stuck up that they would think they could do fine without us. We wouldn't have to worry about the gun control catching on in the neighboring states either. I will volunteer to help build this wall.
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 2:17:02 PM EDT
The government of California created this power shortage by doing little or nothing to control the increase in demand while making it very difficult to build new power plants.  It is time for them to take responsibility for what they did.  If electricity prices in California double like gas prices did this winter in the Midwest then demand will drop and the blackouts will be avoided.  Political suicide but a viable solution for the shortage.
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 2:42:35 PM EDT
The US would do fine without California, and they are all so stuck up that they would think they could do fine without us.
View Quote

(Phil Hartman, imitating Frank Sinatra): There's [i]chunks[/i] of states like you in my crap.

Seriously, we could buy you overnight.  Keep piping up and maybe we will.
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 5:30:44 PM EDT
Well Cible, since I don't know if you are from California I don't know if you are trying to prove how stuck up Californians are or you are just protecting your homeland. Either way you just reinforce my beliefs about Cali, that they are one of the greatest problems (or at least the beliefs that many Californians hold) that our nation faces. You would gladly shred the Constitution if it meant a nicer car or more power for yourself. And judging by your comment "(Phil Hartman, imitating Frank Sinatra): There's chunks of states like you in my crap.
Seriously, we could buy you overnight. Keep piping up and maybe we will."
you support the concept of mob rule where the great powers decide how everyone else will live their life down to the letter. Which I am sure you don't mind yet being the power which makes many of these decisions, but you will start to mind once you realize that there are powers a lot more powerful than you and they decide that you no longer need assault weapons (No wait, they already did that didn't they), or other "rights".  Here you are doing the same thing with power, you want the other states to give up their power to lower your prices. And just to let you know, it is the idea that you not only know what is best for you but what is best for me that pisses me off, not California, it just happens that a disproportionate number of the people from California that I have met have that attitude. Seriously no harm intended.
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 6:22:09 PM EDT
"All we're asking for is help to prevent price gouging," added Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Well, silly me.  And I thought all the problems were because demand was greater than supply.  I should have known the real culprit was evil greedy "Big Oil" barons trying to cheat us out of every last penny, nickel, and dime.
Link Posted: 3/15/2001 11:56:53 PM EDT
Why should any other state help california by giving them power! H**l! the commies out there have been in the dark for so long anyway why give them lights now!
Link Posted: 3/16/2001 12:24:34 AM EDT
My GOD!!!! He's right! The blackouts HAVE hit other western states!! I live in Washington and I SWEAR everything is black right now! Pitch black, everywhere I look!!!!

Or could it be...........night time?

Better not take any chances....
Link Posted: 3/16/2001 8:46:13 AM EDT
Allright Rickyj, that does it.

Cible told you to pipe down, and you continue to disobey, so I am now going to buy Colorado.

I hope you're happy now.

Anymore backsass from you and I'll see to it that you get Feinstein pronto.
Link Posted: 3/16/2001 9:00:40 AM EDT


Kalifornia and their treehuggers want no electric plants? let the liberals sweat...

Washington makes enogh for us.....Screw Kali..

Until we get that....

BUY, BUY, BUY.....

Link Posted: 3/16/2001 9:18:51 AM EDT
Washington is next.  We have been secretly colonizing you for years (thus Seattle).

All your states are (going to) belong to me!

Link Posted: 3/16/2001 9:26:13 AM EDT
F Kali!!  I hope the whole state goes black, and riots consume the state.  I hope they overrun the capitol building causing destruction of a magnitude the US has never seen before.  If we are lucky they will put Feinswine, David, et al. "to sleep"; just like you would a rabid dog.

I feel sorry for you guys in OR, WA, NV, etc though.  That will suck if prices skyrocket or you get blackouts just because the PRK if filled with communist BASTARDS  that don't give a damn about anyone else.

If it only affects the PRK I hope their prices do go up 200%, is the hottest summer EVER, and there is no gas available ANYWHERE.  Those pinko's created this monster, now let them suffer the consequences.  Maybe it will teach them a lesson, probably not, but maybe...
Link Posted: 3/16/2001 9:31:00 AM EDT

You are lucky that there are too many frikking mosquitos in Minnesota.  I will give you Barbra Boxer if you keep complaining, though.

Don't think I won't.
Link Posted: 3/16/2001 9:34:56 AM EDT
I live 20 miles from the largest coal fired power plant in the world.  It consumes 40,000 tons of coal in 24 hours at full tilt.

In spite of the above, Georgia Power is building a gas turbine powered generating station 17 miles south of me.

What do you suppose they know here that the pinheads in La La Land don't?

I hope the summer in the People's Republic is the hottest on record.

Kalifornia Dreamin... [;D]
View Quote

I live 10 miles from the largest coal fired steam plant in Washington; and THEY are building a gas fired plant right next to it.

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em
Link Posted: 3/16/2001 9:50:53 AM EDT
Washington is next.  We have been secretly colonizing you for years (thus Seattle).

All your states are (going to) belong to me!

View Quote

Welcome to Washington - Now go Home!
Link Posted: 3/16/2001 2:35:32 PM EDT
In the town of Buckeye, literally just over the horizon from me, we have a nuclear power plant, and a company from Conneticut of all places is building a gas fired plant right next to it.

To sell to California of course.
Link Posted: 3/16/2001 3:49:00 PM EDT
1.  Not everyone in California is a pinko-liberal. Actually most of the state is conservative, it is mostly SF and LA that is the problem.

2. A big reason a lot of plants outside of California send energy here is because [b]they get paid for it!![/b]

3. I get tired of all the state bashing.  When the laws changed and AW became illegal, everyone said move.  well now Connetticut(sp?) is about to pass the same type of law.

When will people learn??  We are in this together,  [b]Unitied we stand, divided we fall![/b]

Get it??

Link Posted: 3/17/2001 10:28:23 AM EDT
Actually, sarge, it's now officially [b]cunt[/b]ecticut or konnectikut Konecticunt or konnectifukt or The Fantastic Utopian Centre of Konnectifukt AKA [b]FUCK[/b].  Turnabout is fair play.  I hope they get sick of it just like I did.
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