173OT: Affects CA EV drivers: Watt Cops
- Feb 2, 2001OT: 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
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
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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