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173OT: Affects CA EV drivers: Watt Cops

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  • Bruce EVangel Parmenter
    Feb 2, 2001
      OT: Affects CA EV drivers: Watt Cops

      [IMHO: cutting back on power other than the daytime peak periods is
      again another example how those in charge, do not understand when
      the real power is needed. During the day=Yes, during the Night=dumb

      I can see it now, the cop comes over and sez,
      "OK buddy, you get a ticket. You know we have to save Electricity."

      "But Officer, I have to charge my Electric Vehicle to get to work

      -I forsee a wave of anti-EV sentiment for this bogus rule. As George
      simply put it, "It's a bad law". This also is a bad move.]

      www.sfgate.com State OKs $10 Billion for Power CONSERVE OR ELSE:
      $1000-a-day fines for stores that don't comply Robert Salladay, Joe
      Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writers Friday, February 2, 2001
      2001 San Francisco Chronicle

      Gov. Gray Davis invoked his emergency powers yesterday and ordered
      California's auto malls, shopping centers and other retail outlets to
      dim their lights after closing - or face $1,000-a-day fines.

      Under an extraordinary executive order signed by Davis, law
      enforcement agencies and the Office of Emergency Services have the
      next week to figure out which businesses should cut their outdoor
      lighting without jeopardizing safety or increasing crime.

      Davis gave county sheriffs and the California Highway Patrol the
      authority to penalize recalcitrant business up to $1,000 a day
      starting March 15, when the program becomes mandatory. The emergency
      order lasts "until the governor rescinds it," said a spokesman.
      Violators face criminal misdemeanor charges.

      The order is part of a $404 million conservation effort that includes
      rebates for energy-saving appliances, money for businesses to install
      energy efficient roofs and more efficient lighting, and a TV
      commercial encouraging people to wash their clothes after 7 p.m.
      McDonald's will pay to print 4 million paper place mats with energy
      conservation tips.

      Davis said the plans should save enough power to supply an estimated
      3.7 million homes during the summer. Under the state of emergency
      Davis declared Jan. 17, California's vast bureaucracies were ordered
      to cut power 20 percent, and residents were asked to voluntarily cut
      usage by 7 percent.

      "Yes, we have a power shortage," Davis said, "but we are far from

      Californians have enormous clout as consumers."
      Democratic lawmakers have been asking Davis for three weeks to
      introduce conservation measures, not just negotiate for lower power
      prices or work to build more power plants. Davis' plan would double
      the amount California spends on energy conservation -- to $800

      "I mean, is it too much to ask for these auto malls to turn off the
      lights from midnight to 6 a.m.?" asked Senate President Pro Tem John
      Burton, D-San Francisco, who supports more conservation efforts but is
      leery of using law enforcement to monitor usage.

      Although nearly every major business group in the state, including
      Silicon Valley and grocery store lobbyists, said they supported Davis'
      plan to cut outdoor lighting, not everyone running a business was
      enthusiastic about having their energy usage monitored by the state.

      "Shouldn't the governor be worried about trying to get more power
      instead of running around fining people?" asked Juergen Frost, owner
      of a Pleasant Hill furniture shop.

      Last week, a Chronicle report on nighttime electricity use by
      businesses noted that two dozen lamps burned brightly inside Frost's
      store at 10:30 p.m., a few hours after closing. Frost said his timer
      had malfunctioned -- the lights should be off before midnight. Still,
      he doesn't plan to begin turning his lights off when his store

      "My gas and electric bill is only $160 a month (for the
      6,000-square-foot store)," Frost said. "Show me what the other big
      electricity users are doing. Since the economy is a little soft, we do
      have to show our lights."

      Many details remain unwritten on Davis' plan to monitor power usage
      and issue fines. Davis' executive order simply asks the CHP and the
      sheriffs from nine major counties, including Alameda, to "develop a
      plan" by Feb. 9. The state Trade and Commerce Agency is in charge of
      notifying businesses of the orders.

      That plan could require certain types of businesses, such as auto
      malls or grocery stores, to cut power by a certain percentage, or it
      could order specific businesses, block-by-block, to cut their lights
      during the early morning hours.

      Businesses that fail to comply with an order following a warning from
      law enforcement can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined, the
      governor's executive order states. Officials in the governor's office
      said they had the power to implement the plan under the state's
      Emergency Services Act.

      However, "the governor is reasonably confident people will voluntarily
      participate," said spokeswoman Hilary McLean.

      Davis said he wanted to make sure that whatever the sheriff or CHP
      ordered, the retail outlets still had enough light to prevent crime.
      Indeed, legal experts warned that making it easier for criminals to
      trespass or break into a building could put the state in jeopardy.

      "I would say that the state is liable for negligence if the state
      requires someone to underlight their premises so as to cause injury to
      somebody, including themselves," said Jesse Choper, a UC Berkeley law

      Shamrock Ford in Dublin turned off half the lights on its lot after it
      was featured in the same Chronicle story. In that time, two cars have
      been stolen, but the company still is trying to conserve energy.

      "If you're asking if we're going to shut down to pitch black after we

      the answer is no. No way," said Gordon Giacomazzi, director of sales
      at Shamrock Ford, a beacon along Interstate 580 in Dublin. "If you had
      $14 million worth of cars on your property, would you feel safe with
      the lights turned off?"

      Dublin Vice Mayor Janet Lockhart said that even if the city requested
      lights as part of an overall look of a development, it wasn't
      requiring businesses to keep them on now.

      "I don't think it's my job to knock on someone's door and tell them
      how to run their business," Lockhart said. "I'm confident that Dublin
      businesses will be good corporate citizens and comply with the
      governor's order."

      Chronicle staff writer Bob Egelko contributed to this report. / E-mail
      Robert Salladay at rsalladay@... and Joe Garofoli at
      jgarofoli@.... 2001 San Francisco Chronicle Page A1

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