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Californians urged to conserve power after blackout

September 9, 2011 | 10:08 am

Click here for more photos of the blackout. The California grid operator issued a "flex alert" and urged residents statewide to conserve power and help ease the strain on the system.

The California Independent System Operator said energy should be conserved all day and not just during the peak hours between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

PHOTOS: Blackout leaves millions without power

They suggest setting the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, or not using the air conditioner at all. They also recommend drawing drapes, turning off unnecessary lights and appliances, and using big appliances early in the morning or late at night.

Dave Geier, a company vice president for San Diego Gas & Electric, said that despite the return of power, customers should try to use electricity sparingly, lest they overload the system.

"The system is still fragile," he said.

The utility also tweeted a message to its customers that conservation helped pay off: "Thank you to all our customers. By turning off all appliances like AC’s it helped us to restore service faster."

"Conservation should continue to be top of mind today," SDG&E tweeted.

A multi-agency investigation is being launched to determine the cause of the outage, which struck the entire SDG&E service area in San Diego County, southern Orange County and parts of Riverside County.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego and Kimi Yoshino in Los Angeles

Photo: Ben and Maia Meunier play board games with their friend Josh Merrill by candlelight in their San Clemente apartment during the blackout. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times