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Power Blackouts Hit California Stations

Several California TV stations were hit hard by utilities' rolling blackouts. At one point, according to the California Association of Broadcasters, three San Jose stations were down due to the power losses. The association said it was trying to make the case for stations as an essential service during the statewide energy crisis, but "it's hard to lobby against every factory or ambulance company that believes it should be exempted." Many stations in affected areas had backup power generators and were spared the outages. Association President Stan Stathan said last week he'd met with Gov. Gray Davis and with the state Energy Commission and the Office of Emergency Services and was hopeful that local television might gain exemption status. "Broadcasters are licensed by the government to serve people," said Stathan, a former California legislator. "When this happens, we can't provide that service."