WASHINGTON (AP) -- Power problems could spread into the Northeast this summer, electricity grids in Texas and the Pacific Northwest are being watched closely, and California could average 20 hours of blackouts a week, electricity industry experts say.
The gloomy forecast comes just as President Bush prepares this week to release a sweeping energy policy that is expected to focus heavily on long-term solutions and not this summer's power concerns or high gasoline prices.
The North American Electric Reliability Council, an industry-sponsored watchdog organization, said in a report Tuesday that California's power problems this summer are likely to be worse than even state officials have predicted, with 260 hours of rolling blackouts -- an average of 20 hours a week -- likely because of a power shortfall that could be as much as 5,000 megawatts during peak demand periods.
A megawatt is enough power to serve 1,000 homes.
While most of the country will have enough electricity, the council's report also warned of potential problems in the Northeast, with possible power disruptions if there is a persistent heat wave, and in the Pacific Northwest as well as possibly in Texas. The New York City area could have blackouts if there are transmission problems on lines into the region, the report said.
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