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Rolling Blackouts Circular

The purpose of this circular is to provide information regarding the potential for an electrical blackout in the City of Los Angeles, as a result of the current electrical power crisis.


In recent months, the State of California has been experiencing an electrical power shortage. This is due, in part, to the high levels of demand in recent months and the lack of supply available from power companies. Although, the power shortages experienced in the past few months have resulted in rolling blackouts in several cities throughout Southern California, the likelihood of an electrical blackout in the City of Los Angeles stemming from the power shortage is extremely unlikely.


Rolling blackouts in the City of Los Angeles, as a result of the current power crisis, are not likely to occur. This is because the California Independent System Operator (CAL ISO) controls the areas that have been affected by rolling blackouts. The City of Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power (DWP) is not part of CAL ISO. As a result, the City of Los Angeles, barring an emergency order by the Governor for the City to curtail its power load or an unplanned grid or power generation failure, will not experience any rolling blackouts. However, electrical power outages may occur in the City of Los Angeles as a result of an earthquake, fire, or other natural disaster. Additionally, there are many people who work in the City of Los Angeles, but reside outside the City, who may go home to an area that is experiencing a blackout. The following is a list or tips to follow in the event you are in an area that is experiencing a blackout.


During a blackout, anything that is reliant upon electricity as its power source will be severely impacted. There are a few items that are affected more so than others. Some of these are:

  • Traffic Signals
  • Medical equipment (life-support systems)
  • Security systems

Elderly community members and those requiring electrical medical equipment are more severely impacted by a rolling blackout than the younger population.


If you experience an electrical power outage at your residence, first check to see if your neighbor’s lights are out. This is to ensure that the problem does not rest with your residence. If the power outage is throughout your community, these tips can help you and your family.


  • Have flashlights and fresh batteries readily available.
  • Try to avoid using candles as a light source. Use flashlights instead.
  • Leave one light turned on so you will be aware of when the power comes back on.
  • Leaving the doors closed on your refrigerator will keep the food inside cool and fresh.
  • Have a battery-operated radio on hand. This will allow you to remain updated on the status of the electrical blackout or other emergencies.
  • Keep a wind-up or battery-operated clock, manual can opener, and extra blankets available in your home.
  • Check on elderly neighbors or anyone who may have a medical condition that requires the use of medical equipment that is electrically powered.


  • Because of an electrical blackout, normal operation of traffic signals may be impeded. IF you approach an intersection where the traffic signals are not functioning, REMEMBER THAT THE INTERSECTION IS TO BE CONSIDERED A FOUR-WAY STOP! Always yield to the right, and keep in mind that during a blackout, normal traffic patterns will be disrupted. Drive defensively and remain extremely alert, especially if you are a pedestrian.
  • It’s a good idea to have a flashlight in your vehicle. In the event you experience mechanical difficulties with your vehicle, you will need a light source to perform maintenance on your vehicle or to summon assistance.
  • Consider driving on roads that are not as heavily traveled. Take alternate routes. This will reduce traffic congestion and delays caused by non-functioning traffic signals.


For additional information regarding electrical blackouts and emergency preparedness, you may check the following Internet sites:

  • – California Energy Commission. This site contains useful information regarding blackout preparedness, conservation, and emergency preparedness.
  • – The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. This site also contains information that provides preparedness tips relating to electrical and power outages.

If you do not have Internet service, you may call the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power at 1-800-CALL DWP(1-800-225-5397) or the California Energy Commission at 1-800-232-4685.


Rolling blackouts in the City of Los Angeles as a result of the current energy crisis are unlikely to occur. However, in the event they do occur, for whatever reason, remember to remain calm. They are only temporary.

The information provided in this circular was obtained from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the California Energy Commission. You can visit their respective Web sites to obtain additional information concerning precautions that should be taken during an electrical shortage or blackout.

For additional information regarding this subject or any crime prevention information you may contact the Los Angeles Police Department, Crime Prevention Unit, at 213-485-3134.



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