FOLSOM, Calif. – The California Independent System Operator (ISO) credits energy conservation from consumers for averting expected power outages yesterday, and urges Californians to continue being thoughtful about energy use during this long and extreme heat wave.
A statewide Flex Alert, a call for voluntary electricity conservation, will be in effect for today and tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
California's record-breaking persistent heat wave has put extraordinary strain on the ISO electric system, as air conditioners are working harder and longer to keep spaces cool during the high temperatures. Because of high heat and limited energy supplies, rotating power outages are likely over the next two days.
The ISO declared a Stage 2 Emergency yesterday afternoon to prepare utilities to start rotating power outages throughout California. The rotating outages are implemented to prevent more widespread and serious loss of power. But cloud cover, along with conservation efforts, pushed demand down and prevented the grid operator from ordering load shedding.
With today's temperatures forecast above normal again, consumers can continue to take stress off the grid by lowering energy use during the most critical time of the day, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., when temperatures remain high, and the sun is setting, removing thousands of megawatts of solar power from the system.
Conservation efforts during these times can prevent more dire measures, such as rotating power outages, or generator equipment failures that can lead to more serious unplanned losses of power.
The ISO recognizes that reducing energy use during the hot time of the day is a hardship, especially for those working from home or with children schooling at home. However, if a large number of consumers do their part in small ways, conservation can make a difference.
Between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m., the ISO is urging consumers to:
- Set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees, if health permits.
- Defer use of major appliances.
- Turn off unnecessary lights.
- Unplug unused electrical devices.
- Close blinds and drapes.
- Use fans when possible.
- Limit time the refrigerator door is open.
Consumers can also take steps to prepare for the Flex Alert by doing the following before 3 p.m.:
- "Pre-cool" their homes, or lower air conditioning thermostats.
- Charge electric vehicles.
- Charge mobile devices and laptops.
- Run dishwashers, washing machines and other major appliances.
- Set pool pumps to run in the morning or during the night.
For information on Flex Alerts, and to get more electricity conservation tips, visit the ISO's Flex Alert website.