Updated June 18, 6:16 a.m.
California's power grid operator is asking residents to conserve energy for another day as record-breaking heat blankets the West.
The California Independent System Operator issued a flex alert for Friday from 6 - 9 p.m. as torrid conditions engulfing the West have tightened energy supplies. A flex alert had also been in effect Thursday from 5-10 p.m.
Thursday night PG&E warned 121,00 customers they could lose power if supplies weren't enough to meet demand, but said Friday morning that no outages were needed.
Cal ISO’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Rothleder said Thursday evening they did have to get some additional power from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to meet demand.
The agency recommends that during a flex alert, customers:
- Set air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees, if health permits
- Avoid using dishwashers, washers, dryers, and ovens
- Turn off unnecessary lights
- Unplug or turn off electrical devices that you are not using
- Keep blinds and drapes closed to prevent the sun from heating up the home
- Use fans when possible
But if you're a SMUD customer, it looks like your air conditioner and other electrical appliances will be able to power through the current heat wave, despite the flex alert.
"SMUD does not do flex alerts," SMUD's Lindsay VanLaningham said. "We have lots of mitigation measures in place if there is some sort of an emergency … and we anticipate being able to meet peak demand barring some sort of major emergency."
Wednesday was the first day of triple-digit heat in much of Northern California. Temperatures will be around 108 on Thursday and Friday, when an "Excessive Heat Watch" takes effect. Temperatures in some parts of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys could be as high as 112 degrees at the end of the week.
"We have some high pressure building in from the desert southwest which is basically going to lead to some pretty warm conditions across the regions, pretty widespread," said Sierra Littlefield, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "What that means is we're not going to see much relief from the heat and it's going to compound over several days. It'll impact elderly, definitely kids, pets, possibly livestock as well."
She says you should stay out of the sun, drink plenty of fluids, be in an air-conditioned building and check-up on vulnerable relatives and neighbors. By Sunday, temperatures are expected to be back in the mid 90s.
"The overnight lows are also going to be on the warm side, possibly close to 70," Littlefield said. "Definitely is going to be some heat risk for the entire population so it would be wise to plan ahead and just make sure that you are prepared for some pretty warm conditions lasting over several days."
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