During 2001, the residents of California in the USA discovered what it would be like to live in a world where electricity was in short supply. The state suffered from periods of time when the supply could not keep up with the demand and entire districts had to survive without electricity for many hours. The Californian crisis was caused by a change in the way the power companies sold energy, but it was a very good illustration of how dependent people have become on a regular supply of electricity.
One of the immediate effects of this crisis was that many Californians turned to alternative energy sources that would give them independence from the power companies who had traditionally provided their energy. Many families rushed out and purchased solar panels to provide their homes with electricity and hot water.