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CBS Sacramento

Lights left on in downtown Sacramento buildings overnight as Californians asked to conserve

By Laura Haefeli,


SACRAMENTO - On the brink of blackouts, California's energy agency issued a flex alert state-wide, asking neighbors and businesses to lower their energy use but our CBS13 crew found not everyone is heeding the call for conservation.

Our camera captured government buildings in downtown Sacramento with interior lighting left on with no signs of anyone working inside, during the holiday weekend.

All five floors at the Sacramento County courthouse were glowing, the California Employment Development Department left lights on multiple floors, and the District Attorney's office was also lit up.

"PGE meteorologists have seen this weather coming in and we have been preparing for this incredibly intense heat wave," says PG&E spokesperson Megan Mcfarland.

She says the agency issued conservation requests from all neighbors though not every building is powered by the utility company, the request is statewide.

"Flex alerts are the last stop before rotating outage and if everyone does their part to cut down on energy usage A/C usage. Cal ISO doesn't have to move to rotating outages. The same for businesses too."

We reached out to the Department of General Services as well as Sacramento County. They tell us lights are occasionally left on in buildings for security purposes and cleaning, in some cases lights are motion sensor-controlled.

The County says buildings do have their thermostats turned up and they're asking staff to unplug unnecessary equipment – but is that explanation good enough?

"If they're asking for residents to cut off theirs, everyone else should do the same thing to conserve electricity. A one-bedroom apartment…by no means consume all of the electricity and power as a big old building," says neighbor, Pamela Martin.

Kaiser Permanente was also lit up near DOCO a building without any patients, only tech equipment and offices. Kaiser tells CBS13 they are increasing the thermostat levels and exploring additional ways to conserve energy at their downtown location.

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