California Governor Declares State of Emergency in Electricity Crisis

Mr. Gray Davis, Governor of California,U.S.A., facing a spiraling power crisis that shows no sign of easing, has declared a state of emergency and set out a game plan to keep the lights on -- at least for Thursday.

"The state of emergency gives the state the authority and the resources to keep the lights on in California," the Democratic governor said as he signed the official emergency declaration late Wednesday night.

Davis said he was asking the state legislature to pass emergency measures Thursday to appropriate the general funds necessary to keep the electricity flowing for another week to 10 days. He also said he was instructing the state's Department of Water Resources to use funds already budgeted to buy additional power.

With its utilities close to bankruptcy and the power grid in chaos, because of a combination of supply problems and the aftermath of a 1996 state power deregulation law, California's power regulators Wednesday for the first time ordered large-scale rolling blackouts -- unplugging some 200,000 customers for up to two hours.

Davis said the threat of more blackouts Thursday left him no choice but to issue the emergency directive. "I'm disappointed that we have no choice (but) to step in, and we will do it," Davis said.

He did not say how long the order would remain in effect, how much the state would pay for the wholesale electricity or whether it would charge utilities for it.

The state Senate was expected to consider the legislation Thursday

People's Daily Online ---