Power Update

The Claremont Colleges are still under the I-6 interruptible power contract. The California energy situation enters a new phase this Friday, April 20, when penalties will be reinstated for I-6 "interruptible power" customers who do not voluntarily shut off power when requested to do. The California Public Utilities Commission had previously banned penalties for those users who remain on power during a voluntary shutdown.

The Claremont Colleges are waiting to review written guidelines from Southern California Edison that may offer opt-out provisions as part of the program. A number of factors will contribute to the decision of whether to stay an I-6 customer, including a likely 70 percent rate increase and the fact that rolling blackouts are still a likelihood for all customers, whether or not they are I-6 customers. The colleges are discussing this issue, and we will keep you informed.

Regardless of the rate plan decision, we are prepared with the installation this spring of several large-scale generators. With the exception of 10-minute intervals as the generators start-up and then shut down at the beginning and end of a power outage, the back-up system should see us through most electricity emergencies.

We are awaiting the finalized summertime guidelines from Southern California Edison but expect them to include the following:

For I-6 Voluntary Shutdown/Interruptible Events:

* 30-minute notification from SCE prior to voluntary shutdown requests.
* No more than 25 voluntary interruptions per I-6 customer per calendar year. The Claremont Colleges have already sustained 11 interruptions, leaving 14 remaining.
* No more than one interruptible event per calendar day (midnight to midnight) with duration not to exceed six hours.
* No more than four interruptions in one week or 40 hours per month.

For Controlled Outage/Rolling Blackouts:

I-6 customers are not immune from rolling blackouts, which can occur with little or no warning. Start-up periods for the generator system will be depend on when the outage occurs and whether the college has received prior notification of the impending rolling blackout.

When will there be light?

While the new generator system will carry The Claremont Colleges through most interruptions described above, it is important to remember that the generators require up to 10 minutes to be activated during normal business hours. The same amount of time will be required to switch back to Southern California Edison and off the generators when the power interruption has concluded. If an interruption occurs during the weekend or after hours, the start-up time may take longer as campus crews are notified for generator start-up. During weekends of Stage 2 and Stage 3 alerts, the back-up system will be staffed on-site.

What's Next?

Summertime demands on the state's power grid make it more important than ever to practice energy conservation. Steps are being taken throughout the Claremont campuses to shave electrical usage wherever and whenever it is safe and feasible to do so. We'll be bringing details of those plans to you in the coming weeks. In the meantime, remember to use common sense practices during these energy-challenged times: turn off appliances and lights when not in use, know the location of flashlights and other emergency supplies, avoid the use of elevators, and diligently save computer work.


Visit us at www.claremontmckenna.edu/news/powersource for the latest energy information, to monitor the state's power supply, or to contact us with your energy-related questions, concerns and ideas.