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California governor takes issue with Cheney's energy comments

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- With his state gripped in a power crisis, Gov. Gray Davis took issue Monday with recent comments by Vice President Dick Cheney, who has said the administration's energy plan will focus on increasing supplies of fossil fuels and not conservation.

"I think he really missed the boat," Davis told CNN. "I mean we don't want to act like monks with sack cloths and ashes, but we do and we can and we should be smarter (when using energy)."

"It will save money for people. It will save money for businesses and in California. It's essential for us to get through the summer without any disruptions."

Shortly after Davis appeared on air, California began imposing rolling blackouts in response to strains on the state's power supply blamed on high temperatures.

The governor called on "everyone to conserve at least 10 percent of the energy they used in the last year."

Last week, Cheney said conservation is a "sign of personal virtue" but not a sufficient basis for a "sound, comprehensive energy policy."

Davis said the new administration has "helped us on every matter I have asked, except for the biggest" -- helping reduce wholesale electricity prices, which he said increased by 450 percent from 1999 to 2000.

"We need help from Washington today to reduce the extraordinary prices for power we are paying," he said. "The product isn't any better. We aren't using any more electrons. It's just Texas and Southwest energy companies charging outrageous prices to our utilities that eventually get passed onto our customers."

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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