FOLSOM, Calif. – With extreme heat forecasted across much of California into early next week, the ISO is using multiple tools, including a Flex Alert encouraging voluntary conservation, to maintain a safe and reliable grid.

In addition to the Flex Alert asking consumers to conserve between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. today, July 9, the ISO has other steps it can take to reduce demand or access additional capacity to manage the grid and avoid potential shortages during evening hours when demand remains high, primarily from widespread air conditioning use.

On July 1, for example, the ISO solicited bids to secure additional capacity within California and the Western region. The grid operator is also working with business and industry to help them reduce energy use at critical times.

Voluntary conservation has helped keep the electric grid stable during past times of increased stress on the grid, including last month when high temperatures across the West strained the system with higher demand for power.

With the Flex Alert in effect today from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., consumers are strongly encouraged to:

  • Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, if your health permits
  • Avoid using major appliances, like dish washers and clothes washers and dryers
  • Turn off all unnecessary lights

Consumers are also encouraged to use fans for cooling and unplug unused electrical items.

Earlier in the day, before the Flex Alert takes effect and when solar energy is abundant, consumers are encouraged to take these steps to be comfortable and help grid operators balance supply and demand throughout the day:

 Pre-cool your home by lowering the thermostat
 If you need to use your major appliances, do it before the Flex Alert is in effect, when solar energy is plentiful
 Close window coverings to keep your home or apartment cool
 Charge electronic devices and electric vehicles so there’s no need to do it later, when solar generation is down

As California’s ability to store solar and wind energy with batteries or other technology continues to improve, those crucial evening hours will be less of a challenge and similar emergencies rarer. But for now, collective action to conserve is our most effective way to support grid reliability.

For information on Flex Alerts, and to get more electricity conservation tips, visit the ISO’s Flex Alert website.