Energy Efficiency

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Easy Ways to Conserve Energy

The governor has asked Californians to use 7% less electricity to help ease the current energy situation and to avoid the threat of rotating electric outages. The City of Rolling Hills Estates has joined the effort to reduce on-going energy consumption in City facilities by turning off lights in all unoccupied offices and storage areas; reducing the lighting in work areas and hallways to the minimum acceptable levels consistent with personal safety and security; and installing energy-efficient light bulbs. In addition, the City has decided to temporarily deactivate the up-lighting system on the nine Silver Spur Road medians.

We realize that you probably have been inundated recently with information on what you can do to cut back on your electricity usage and reduce your energy costs, but we think that it is so important given the present circumstances that it bears repeating:

  • Use nonessential appliances such as washing machines and dryers during off-peak hours (before noon or after 6:00 p.m.) and limit the amount of times you open your refrigerator. 
  • Keep your heating thermostat no higher than 60 degrees during cold days and nights and your air conditioning thermostat no lower than 78 degrees, and clean or replace your air conditioner’s filter regularly to help it run more effectively.
  • Insulate your hot water piping from the water heater to the wall or ceiling pipe penetration. Remember to follow the installation instructions. 
  • Operate swimming pool equipment for the minimum amount of time, and during off-peak hours (before noon or after 6:00 p.m.). 
  • Close drapes and blinds to keep out direct sunlight during warm weather. 
  • Dirty coils on the back or bottom front of your refrigerator can make it work harder than necessary. Check and clean coils regularly, especially during the summer. See your appliance owner’s manual for maintenance instructions. 
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. These come in various shapes and sizes that fit regular, screw-in lamps and light fixtures, can last up to 10 times as long as old-fashioned bulbs, and produce less heat while using only a quarter of electricity. 
  • Use one higher wattage bulb instead of several with lower wattage. One 100-watt bulb produces more light than two 60-watt bulbs and uses less power.

What is a Rotating Outage?

A rotating electric outage – also known as a "rolling blackout" – is a temporary and scheduled outage that lasts approximately one hour. Rotating outages may become necessary when the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) declares a statewide Stage 3 Emergency. Cal-ISO makes that determination when there has been a significant reduction in the state’s electricity reserves. In this situation, Southern California Edison (SCE) will be instructed to immediately reduce the electrical load by a specific number of megawatts. SCE will then initiate a rotating outage plan in which controlled service interruptions are rotated among blocks of customers in SCE’s service area. These controlled, rotating power outages become necessary to avoid a widespread disturbance to the electric grid, which could lead to extensive and prolonged outages. SCE will notify television and radio stations at least 10 minutes before the rotating outages are scheduled to begin.

What Should I Do During a Power Outage? 

  • Always keep a flashlight and extra batteries close at hand. Never use candles in a power outage or other emergency. Turn off or disconnect any appliances or electronics you were using when the power went out. 
  • Leave one light on so you’ll know when the power returns. 
  • Don’t light a fire indoors. If you are cold, put on layers of warming clothing. 
  • Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. 
  • Leave the doors on your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. Be sure to check the food carefully for signs of spoilage. 
  • Minimize driving in a power outage area, if possible. Be careful at intersections controlled by traffic lights, since the lights may not be working. These intersections should be treated as four-way stops.