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Californians Cutting Power Use

June 5, 2001

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Californians sliced their electricity use in May by 11 percent compared to the same month last year, the California Energy Commission said.

Residents and businesses reduced electricity demand despite an unusually high number of 100-degree days. Energy use during peak demand hours dropped about 10 percent in May over the same period last year, the commission said.

``It’s been fairly remarkable since January in the way in which the people have responded to the governor’s calls for conservation,″ said commission director Steve Larson.

Conservation is helping cut the state’s daily cost for electricity substantially below the $50 million it had been paying, Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for Gov. Gray Davis, said Tuesday.

He said more long-term electricity contracts, having fewer power plants off-line for routine maintenance, and lower temperatures in the last week also helped cut costs.

Still, Davis asked legislators Monday to approve another half-billion dollars for power buys, bringing to $8.2 billion the amount the state is prepared to pay for electricity on behalf of three financially strapped utilities trapped between soaring power prices and restrictions on consumer rates.

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