SACRAMENTO, CA — California governor Gray Davis recently issued executive orders that were designed to reduce energy consumption by the state and its government, in an effort to stabilize prices in that state’s deregulated electricity market.

“The challenge of providing electricity supplies to California families and businesses has become increasingly complex under deregulation, demanding unprecedented action to address an unacceptable situation,” said Davis.

The governor said he hopes his orders will speed up the time it takes new power-generating facilities to win approval from state agencies. He formally requested the California attorney general to investigate “possible manipulation in the wholesale electricity marketplace.”

Under the first order, review and findings must be submitted within 100 days of receiving a complete application by all state agencies involved in permitting new facilities. Davis said increased demand for electricity and lack of new energy generation facilities during the past decade have been partially blamed for high electricity prices in parts of California.

The California Energy Commission approved five applications last year, with four facilities under construction that will generate a total of approximately 3,500 megawatts (MW). These four facilities will be the first major power plants constructed in California in 10 years.

“Electricity prices in a deregulated market are largely the function of supply and demand, and California agencies should work faster to increase supply,” said Davis. “The executive order will ensure that bureaucracy is not the cause of delay, and that state agencies are doing everything they can to ease prices now, and in the future.”

The Governor’s second order directs improvements on the energy efficiency in all state buildings, by all state agencies. Sustainable building practices will be included in plans for all new state building projects and will be overseen by the secretary for state and consumer services agency.

AGCC exec speaks out

Tony Occhionero, executive director of American Gas Cooling Center (AGCC), in a letter to governor Davis, said, “Our industry applauds governmental actions designed to eliminate the electric energy crisis; however, we believe your executive order must provide ready solutions to reduce peak power demands and increase efficiencies of heating and cooling systems.”

Occhionero said that brown-outs, blackouts, and power abridges are not inevitable, and technology is already out there that can help curtail the shortages occurring in California. These technologies are available from U.S. manufacturers, including Carrier Corp., The Trane Company, and York International.

To view copies of governor Davis’ executive orders, please go to briefing//execorder/index.shtm

Publication date: 08/21/2000