SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California's power grid officials and utilities will be required to let the public know up to two days in advance if rolling blackouts are likely to hit.
Gov. Gray Davis said Thursday that he will order managers who oversee the state's power grid to issue blackout alerts 48 hours in advance of outages.
Utilities, which decide where to cut power, will give a 24-hour warning that includes which neighborhoods will be hit. Grid managers will then issue a final blackout warning one hour before ordering blackouts.
"If blackouts are going to occur, there's no reason to keep the public in the dark," Davis said. "We've had as little as two minutes notice before blackouts. Now, a two-minute warning may work for the National Football League, but it won't work for California consumers and businesses in this state."
Davis made his announcement days after consulting with Chicago officials, who are able to provide similar warnings there.
The governing board of the Independent System Operators, which oversees California's power grid, had proposed a plan to give 30 minutes warning.
It had said it did not want to alarm people when there was still a chance that a last-minute purchase of power could stave off blackouts. The utilities had also resisted giving warnings, saying they did not want to tip off burglars.
But Davis said the longer advance warning will give law enforcement time to get to neighborhoods so they can increase patrols.
The Independent System Operator said it would comply with his order.
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