WSR 01-04-013



[ January 26, 2001 ]

WHEREAS: Several factors, which include low precipitation to feed hydropower, shut down of electrical power generating plants in California for unscheduled maintenance or repair, the failure of California's attempt to deregulate electricity, and increased competition for natural gas supplies have converged to create a shortage of electrical energy and unprecedented high prices for electricity throughout the western United States power grid, which ties Washington and the other western states to California. During a typical year, Washington shares excess electricity with California during the summer when demands are highest there, and California supplies excess power to Washington in winter when our demands are highest. California is unable to meet its usual obligations this winter.

WHEREAS: Shortages of electricity have caused current physical disruptions, and rolling blackouts to ration energy in California. The blackouts in California have caused nearly debilitating harm to the public and businesses there, in particular to oil refineries and terminals, which, in turn, may trigger shortages of gasoline, diesel, heating oil, jet fuel and other petroleum products. California's two largest electricity utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison are reported to be insolvent and on the verge of bankruptcy, and may not be able to pay Washington generators who have sold substantial amounts of power to them. The crisis in California threatens the supply and price of electricity in Washington and other parts of the West Coast, and could affect the solvency of electricity generators in Washington. We must take all steps necessary to avoid a crisis of the proportions experienced by California, a crisis that directly threatens the very foundations of the entire California economy, vital public services, and the health and safety of the public.

WHEREAS: The Bonneville Power Administration and private electrical power generating companies in Washington have begun extraordinary measures to use electricity reserves by drawing down their reservoirs beyond normal and raising prices in efforts to mitigate the electricity shortage.

WHEREAS: Tacoma Public Utilities is facing unprecedented financial difficulties, and could alleviate its problem with temporary generators and alternative fuels. Several large businesses have ceased operations due to the cost of electricity, putting hundreds of people out of work. Public facilities have ceased operations due to inability to pay current and projected power expenses. Conservation efforts by the public and government have been quite successful, but insufficient to solve the problem alone.

WHEREAS: Demand for power in Washington is at its highest during winter months. Citizens of Washington, beginning with vulnerable people of limited means, may be unable to afford power for basic heating, lighting and cooking needs, threatening their health and safety.

WHEREAS: Vital public services are at risk, and immediate steps must be taken to alleviate social and economic impacts to people and property. We must operate all electrical generating capacity necessary to avoid jeopardizing the public health and safety while doing everything possible to minimize the impact on fish and our environment.

NOW, THEREFORE, I Gary Locke, Governor of the state of Washington, find that vital public services, particularly affordable electrical power are at risk, and there exists a situation that threatens to disrupt or diminish the supply of energy to the extent that the public health, safety, and general welfare may be jeopardized; and find that an energy supply alert exists within this state; and hereby declare a state of energy supply alert under Chapters 43.06 and 43.21G RCW. I further direct all state and local governmental agencies to fully comply with all orders that may accompany this declaration or that I may issue pursuant to this declaration as deemed necessary to preserve and protect the public health, safety, and general welfare, and to minimize, to the fullest extent possible, the injurious economic, social, and environmental consequences of this energy supply crisis. This declaration applies statewide.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the state of Washington to be affixed at Olympia, this 26th day of January, A.D., Two Thousand one.
Gary Locke

Governor of Washington


Sam Reed

Secretary of State

Washington State Code Reviser's Office