We in the Northwest have had to face a serious shortage of hydroelectric power during the past several months. Exceptionally low rainfall caused stream flows to run at levels near the record low of 1936-7 and resulted in projections of a 4.5 billion KWH deficit for the period December 1, 1973 to April 15, 1974. This state and the other states in the Northwest Power Pool region acted decisively and quickly, separately and in unison to meet this crisis. On September 6. 1973, I issued an Executive Order requiring state agencies to reduce consumption by not less than 10%, asked our citizens to consciously search out wasteful uses in their own consumption, and requested emergency powers from the Legislature to deal with the situation.
The Legislature did respond to that request granting authority to the Governor to deal with the critical shortage of hydro storage for electrical generation, and to allocate available electric energy as required to maintain the orderly function of public and private activity within the state. It also provided for the establishment of an Electric Emergency Curtailment and/or Allocation Committee to advise on means to deal with the situation.
An early task of the Committee was to determine the level of state-wide voluntary conservation in electric usage required to offset the projected shortage in available supply. This was found to be an average savings in overall use of 7% during the fall and winter months of 1973-74. The next step was to draft a recommended plan for mandatory curtailment of electric consumption, should the voluntary program fail to reach the announced objective. Also recommended were a number of restrictions on advertising and display lighting, which served to point out the importance of the conservation effort, and were then called for by EO 73-08.
The response of the people of the state and region to the call for voluntary conservation was outstanding. The reduction in electric usage over the last three months of 1973 met the required average of 7%, indicating that it may have been possible to avoid mandatory curtailment even though adverse rainfall conditions had continued through the winter season. Fortunately, there was a striking improvement in rainfall and stream flows, starting in November. By the end of the year there was no longer a problem with reservoir levels, and the heavy rains of January have now eliminated entirely the deficit which resulted from last summer's drought.
Notwithstanding the dramatic improvement which has taken place in present electric supplies, the longer term outlook is for a continued need to observe good conservation practices. It is now appropriate to call for the lessening of some of the necessary steps taken earlier to meet our electrical deficiencies.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Daniel J. Evans, Governor of the State of Washington, do by virtue of the power vested in me, declare that the temporary state of emergency in regard to the availability of electrical energy has passed and EO 73-08 is modified. Emergency measures are no longer needed and I am rescinding the call for elimination of the several lighting uses previously mentioned in that executive order.
In addition I ask for restoration of highway and street lighting be made to a level that will aid in providing necessary safety for our citizens while traveling with a continuing concern for appropriate energy conservation.
I call for the continued cooperation for all Washington citizens in the wise and efficient use of all of our forms of energy and to maintain consistent on-going conservation measures.
have hereunto set
my hand and caused the seal of the State of
Washington to be affixed at Olympia this
5th day of February A.D., Nineteen hundred and seventy-four.
Daniel J. Evans
Secretary of State