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After dodging power outages for many months California experienced its first power outage on January 17th being the first time since World War II when state officials ordered blackouts to protect the coast from the Japanese The blackouts stretched from Central California to 500 miles north at the Organ border leaving 657000 homes and businesses without electricity for several hours at a time The blackouts continued left the affected areas in a state of chaos along with billions of dollars lost in sales productivity and wages Many blame the power shortages on the 1996 deregulation which had promised to lower the consumers power bills by providing a competitive market ironically wholesale prices later skyrocketed to over 300 per megawatt in December of 2000 After the opening of five power plants earlier this summer the power crisis has pretty much diminished but later last year and earlier this year businesses in Silicon Valley were questioning weather or not they should stay in California and risk losing millions more Companies who have an interruptible energy source contract with the energy companies which means in exchange for cut-rate electricity they would have their power cut off during an electricity shortage experienced 24 interventions from the summer of 2000 to December of the same year The Miller plant in Irwindale California who typically runs nonstop all year has laid off some employees and had shifted some of its production to Dallas Texas The disruptions cost them on average 600000 a week and more importantly they are looking at alternate areas to do business in fear of another outage The same thought is running through the minds of Silicon Valley corporations they want to stay in California but if the power isnt reliable they must go somewhere else or loose business Intel has also sent a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein stating unless they receive reliable power they will search for power elsewhere The genesis of the
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