How to Prepare for the Energy Crisis and What to Do When Rolling Blackouts Occur
A Guide for the Residential and Business Communities of Calabasas:

Blackout Information 
Energy Tips for the Home
Energy Tips for the Office
Additional Links

Electricity is becoming an increasingly important part of our daily lives. We have become dependent on electricity to provide us with light and power to our homes and offices. Without electricity we have become unable to function at work or home. We expect it to be uninterrupted, run our air conditioners and microwaves, and keep the televisions and computers constantly going. As a result of all this, the current supply of electricity in California is unable to keep up with the consumers demand. Therefore this summer the City of Calabasas might experience power outages (rolling blackouts). However, before this happens there are things that everyone can do to help conserve energy and precautions that can be taken to ensure that you are safe during a rolling blackout.

What is a rolling blackout and what should you do when it happens?

A rolling blackout is a controlled event that occurs when California’s Independent System Operator calls for a Stage 3 electricity emergency. At this time the utility company shuts off the power to an area, turns it back on, and then shuts the power off in a different area. These power outages usually last 30 to 90 minutes. This is an organized and planned outage that typically occurs between the hours of 3 to 7 p.m. when demand for electricity begins to exceed the local utility’s available supply.

When the blackout hits:

  • Stay in the coolest part of the house. If you are outside, stay in the shade.

  • Unless there is a real emergency, do not call 911.

  • Postpone any physically demanding activities for later, in the cooler parts of the day.

  • Dress to stay cool---wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing.

  • Stay well hydrated—drink plenty of water.

  • Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Food inside should stay cold for hours if the door is left closed.

  • Drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out in a rolling blackout. Consider each intersection to be a four-way stop, and drive defensively.

Preparations for Family Members with Special Needs:

  • If a family member uses life support equipment that requires electricity, buy a generator to use in case of a power outage.

  • Make sure you have a telephone that does not require power

  • Check with Southern California Edison to see is you qualify for Edison’s Low-Income Energy Efficiency programs. This program assists qualified SCE customers conserve energy, and reduce their electricity costs. To find out if you qualify call Edison at 1-800-736-4777.

What types of devices could be affected during a blackout and what are backup solutions?
Many devices can be affected during a blackout. The best thing to do is to be prepared with  backup devices: The suggestions in ( ) indicate a backup device, which everyone should be prepared with.

  • Household lights and appliances (flashlights and battery operated appliances)

  • Garage door openers (on extremely hot days, park your car outside)

  • Traffic signals

  • Some smoke detectors

  • Health-related equipment (buy a generator)

  • Cordless telephones (have a phone that does not require power)

  • Elevators and escalators (make it a point on extremely hot days to take the stairs)

Energy Tips for Home:

Using Appliances Wisely

  • Do your laundry efficiently by using the warm or cold water setting for washing your clothes and always use cold water to rinse clothes.

  • Line dry clothes whenever you can.

  • When you need to use the dryer, run full loads, use the moisture-sensing setting, and clean the clothes dryer lint trap after each use.

  • Conserve energy by running your dishwasher only when it is fully loaded, and turn off the dry cycle and air-dry dishes instead.

  • To help prevent electricity outages, avoid running your major appliances between during afternoon peak demand periods, which is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., or anytime an electricity emergency is declared.

Eliminate Wasted Energy

  • Turn off appliances, lights and equipment when not in use

  • Turn computers, printers and other peripherals off at the power strip when they are not being used. Put them on energy-saver mode when you’re using them so they will sleep when not used for 10-15 minutes.

Plug Leaking Energy in Electronics

  • Many new TVs, VCRs, chargers, computer peripherals and other electronics use electricity even when they are switched off. Although these standby losses are only a few watts each, they add up to over 50 watts in a typical home that is consumed all the time. If possible unplug electronic devices and charges that have a block shaped transformer on the plug when they are not in use.

  • For computer scanners, printers and other devices that are plugged into a power strip, simply switch off the power strip after shutting down your computer.

Inexpensive Energy Solutions

  • Replace air conditioner filters: Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace or clean filters monthly for maximum benefit.

  • Choose energy star products: replace incandescent light bulbs with Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs, especially in high use light fixtures. Compact fluorescent lights use 66-75% less energy than incandescent lights of the same brightness.

  • Install low flow showerheads: If you do not already have them, low flow showerheads and faucets can drastically cut your hot water expenses.

Good Energy Saving Investments

  • Install a whole house fan: A whole house fan is permanently installed in your attic and draws cool air into your home through the windows and forces hot air out through your attic vents. This should be used after sundown when the outside temperature drops below 80 degrees and in the early morning to pre-cool your house to help reduce air conditioning use.

  • High efficiency windows: If you are planning to replace your windows, choose Energy Star windows which can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15 percent.

  • Choose Energy Star appliances and electronics: When buying new appliances, choose energy start certified models. For example, a new energy star refrigerator uses about 20% less energy than a standard new refrigerator and 46% less than one made in 1980.

Reminders for the Home

  • Set your thermostat to 78*F during the summer

  • Set your thermostat at 85*F or more when you leave your home for more than four hours

  • Keep your refrigerator temperature between 36 and 40 degrees F and your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees F. A lower setting can increase energy use.

  • Use air conditioning wisely. Keep all your doors and windows shut and avoid using a humidifier

  • Keep heat-producing appliances away from your thermostat. Heat emitted by television sets, lamps, and other appliances will make your cooling system work harder

  • Use exterior shading devices like awnings, bamboo screens and shade screens.

  • Use your shades. Closing drapes and shades---especially on southern windows---will help keep the sun out and your home cool.

  • Consider a solar water heating system for your swimming pool

  • Keep your spa or pool covered when not in use. Well-fitted pool and spa covers help prevent heat loss. They also reduce water evaporation. Consider a solar cover; it lies on the water’s surface and heats the water from the sun.

  • Turn off lights whenever they are not needed. Also use automatic lighting controls.

Energy Tips for the Office

Office Equipment

  • Turn off PCs, monitors, printers, copiers, and lights every night and every weekend. If you can’t turn off the whole computer, turn off the monitor and printer.

  • When purchasing PCs, monitors, printers, fax machines and copiers, consider Energy Star models that power down after a user-specified period of inactivity. If appropriate, use laptop computers—they consumer 90% less energy than standard desktop computers.

  • If appropriate use ink-jet printers—they consume 90% less energy than laser printers.

  • Implement paper-reducing strategies such as double-sided printing and reusing of paper.

  • Use e-mail instead of sending memos or faxing documents.

  • Purchase appropriately sized copiers for your company’s needs.

Lighting: Basic Facts about lighting

  • Retrofit incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights.

  • Consider removing excess fluorescent lights and installing reflectors.

  • Turn off nonessential and decorative lighting, especially in unoccupied areas.

  • Use task lighting to directly illuminate work areas instead of area lighting.

  • Color code or mark light switches and circuit breakers that can be turned off when not needed.

  • Replace incandescent and fluorescent exit signs with long-lasting, low-energy LED exit signs.

Fast and Free Tips

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher

  • Close window blinds to shade interior spaces from direct sunlight

  • Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms


For more information about daily energy alerts, visit California ISO's alert page

Information from Southern California Edison concerning energy market issues

Please help by conserving whenever possible!


City of Calabasas © 2018