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FORD: And we are joined this morning from San Francisco by Mayor Willie Brown.

Mayor Brown, good morning.

Mayor WILLIE BROWN (Democrat, San Francisco): Good morning. How are you, Jack?

FORD: Good, thank you. Probably a little bit better than you folks are out there this morning.

Mayor BROWN: No question.

FORD: Did you have any–did you have any advance notice that these rolling blackouts were coming?

Mayor BROWN: None whatsoever. This was one of those situations in which the news media and the organizations including the ISO that normally gives us a warning had no opportunity to so warn us. And we were just hit with it.

FORD: How was your city affected?

Mayor BROWN: Well, my city has been in preparation for the prospect of this kind of a disaster for a long time. We immediately went into our normal mode, that is turning off air-conditioning units in large institutions and other places. It was difficult, however, because the San Francisco International Airport, for an example, had to shut off the air conditioners. And if you know anything about airports, they’re all glass. And the temperature was unusually warm for a March 19th in California. And the results were very unpleasant.

FORD: How about your expectations for today? Have you been given any indication what sort of problems you can anticipate?

Mayor BROWN: Well, all they are telling us is that we should be just as prepared as we were yesterday, and there’s no way to determine at this early moment whether or not, in fact, the rolling blackouts will hit us again. I’m hopeful that they will not. After all, this happens to be my birthday, Jack. It just dawned on me. And I’d like nothing better for everybody to have a very pleasant experience. And maybe, just maybe, we will. As–as late as–I suppose as late as 4:00 yesterday afternoon, the warning was lifted. The rolling blackouts stopped, and they didn’t occur anymore during the course of the night. Let’s hope that happens today.

FORD: Seeing those blackouts appear on–on–what is it?–the first day of spring, now, we’re not even into the summer months, the high drainage months, certainly does not bode well for the future. Have you talked with California officials about plans for the summer?

Mayor BROWN: Oh, yes. There have been plans for the summer in place now for eight or 10 days as part of the governor’s overall program to deal with the issue problems in California, but it’s going to require some serious commitment by local citizens as well as government. He has said that we need a 10 percent reduction by–by June 1st and–and before the weather turns bad. And then secondly, we also need some real luck on doing all the other things that are in place. And I’m hopeful that we will achieve that. I know in San Francisco we will achieve it.

FORD: Mayor, there’s a lot of controversy, obviously, about these blackouts. There’s a report due out today from an advocacy group called the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights that contends that these power shortages are not caused by increased demand and a shortage of new power plants but rather by price gauging–or price gouging, I should say, by the power companies.

Mayor BROWN: I think we’ll all have to review their reports. But I can tell you this, we will not work our way out of this situation without some additional capacity. The state of Massachusetts and the state of a couple of other places had the same kind of experience–or potentially the same kind of experience. And they had a combination of factors that worked it out. Los Angeles County, it has its own power agency. And clearly, it’s not subject to all of these rolling blackouts or the potential. And they have greater capacity. So capacity is clearly a part of that. And this consumers group ought to tell you that.

FORD: Well, Mayor Willie Brown, thank you for joining us this morning. We hope you don’t have to celebrate your birthday in the dark.

Mayor BROWN: I can assure you we will not. We’ll do it at noon–high noon.

FORD: All right. Thank you for joining us. Our best to all of you out there.

Mayor BROWN: All right.

Consumer Watchdog
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