Updated Sept. 5, 1:05 p.m.
Californians are being asked to conserve energy on Monday fir the six consecutive days after the state’s power grid, California ISO, issued a statewide Flex Alert amid a widespread heatwave.
Cal ISO called the first Flex Alert of this week’s heatwave on Wednesday. Alerts have been issued daily since then.
Temperatures in the Sacramento region are expected to exceed 100 degrees starting Thursday and extend through Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
Californians are asked to reduce electricity use between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. To do so, officials recommend:
- Setting air conditioning thermostats at 78 degrees
- Turning-off unnecessary lights
- Closing blinds and drapes
- Deferring using major appliances
- Unplugging unused electrical devices
- Limiting opening refrigerator doors
Cal ISO representative Anne Gonzales told CapRadio that 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. is the “critical time of day” for the state’s power grid, as people tend to run their air conditioning and use other major appliances like stoves, dishwashers and laundry machines during that period of time.
In a press conference Wednesday, Cal ISO CEO Elliot Mainzer said that he expects the organization to call more Flex Alerts through the weekend.
“It’s important for people to recognize that this will be a multiple-day event,” Mainzer said. “Be prepared to [conserve energy] tomorrow, the next night and potentially through the weekend.”
Peak energy demand is expected to exceed 48,000 megawatts by Monday, which Cal ISO said could be the highest of the year.
In 2020, statewide demand for energy exceeded supply and rolling blackouts affected the majority of California for the first time since 2001. Last summer, Cal ISO narrowly avoided more rolling blackouts after a fire in Oregon damaged infrastructure that helped import extra energy into California.
In a video message posted Tuesday, Mainzer said the agency is taking measures to bring all available resources online.
“We’ve instructed utilities on the grid we manage to refrain from maintenance operations that would take their equipment out of service during this heat wave,” Mainzer said. “The governor and state agencies are also working hard to help us meet the increased demand for electricity until the weather becomes more cooperative.”
This weekend’s heat wave isn’t just hitting California — higher than normal temperatures are forecasted for much of the west coast. Gonzales says this could pose an issue for the supply of electricity available, as California ISO often imports electricity from neighboring states.
“With this event, we’re also seeing some heat in neighboring states across the west, overlapping with our hot weather, which makes it tougher to find energy to import during the times that we need it,” she said.
Representatives with the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, which serves customers in the region, said Wednesday they would like customers to conserve energy, but expect to avoid blackouts.
PG&E announced in a release Wednesday that it is “prepared for the heat” and also expects to avoid blackouts.
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