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Get ready to save energy like you save water

File: The sun shines over towers carrying electical lines August 30, 2007 in South San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 30: The sun shines over towers carrying electical lines August 30, 2007 in South San Francisco, California. With temperatures over 100 degrees in many parts of the state, the California Independent System Operator, which manages most of the California electricity grid, is planning on declaring a minor power emergency later in the day, followed by a Stage 2 power alert during the late afternoon, indicating that power reserves have fallen below five percent. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Citing the threat of brown-outs this summer, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors urged Southern California residents to conserve electricity this summer and be prepared for possible 100-degree days without air conditioning.

The five-member board voted Tuesday to launch a countywide education campaign to prepare residents in the case Southern California's power plants don't have enough electricity to serve the entire region during peak summer days.

Those plants often rely on natural gas to power their facilities, and natural gas may be in short supply this summer if the massive natural gas facility in Aliso Canyon gas remains offline. The facility, which is run by Southern California Gas Company, has been out of operation since a well blowout last year. The ensuing four-month gas leak caused many Porter Ranch residents to temporarily relocate. The leak was plugged in February, but the facility remains closed while all of the gas wells on site are tested for safety.

Supervisor Hilda Solis, who championed the county conservation action, said power companies that depend on natural gas from Aliso Canyon serve 11 million customers in the L.A. region.

Four energy agencies, including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, recently prepared a technical assessment on their energy needs this summer. They found that Angelenos could see as many as 14 days of electricity interruption during the summer months.

Solis is asking for local governments across Los Angeles County to educate their residents on energy conservation to avoid brownouts. She particularly wants them to focus outreach efforts on vulnerable populations who might not have the same access to information. 

Solis is also looking to the county to retrofit public facilities to make them more energy efficient. She named county-run hospitals, schools and government buildings that are due for an energy upgrade.

“We’ve lived through this in Southern California before,” she said. “But we need to learn from those lessons and move forward with a plan like this that we passed today.”

Southern California Gas Company has been prohibited from injecting natural gas into the Aliso Canyon storage facility until a state agency can test and guarantee the integrity of each gas well there. While SoCal Gas has said it intends to complete the testing process and be functional before the hottest summer months, there is no guarantee it will meet its intended timeline.