SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. September 3, 2020 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges its customers to conserve energy during afternoons and evenings over the three-day Labor Day weekend. The state’s grid operator has issued a Flex Alert, based on a forecast of increased power demand due to expected high temperatures.
Customers are asked to reduce their energy use from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. each day, Saturday through Monday, when air conditioners drive consumption. By doing so, customers can help make sure the state has enough supply to meet demand for electricity.
Some helpful tips for conserving power:
- Avoid using electrical appliances and devices from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. Put off tasks such as vacuuming, laundry, dish washing and computer time until after 9 p.m.
- Adjust your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher or turn it off if you will be away from home. Use a fan instead of air conditioning when possible.
- Draw drapes and turn off unnecessary lighting.
- Limit the opening of refrigerators, which is a major user of electricity in most homes. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day.
- Keep refrigerator full (with bottles of water if nothing else) and unplug your second refrigerator, if you have one.
- Avoid using the oven. Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside.
- Set your pool pump to run overnight instead of during the day.
A Flex Alert is an urgent call by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to conserve electricity and shift demand to off-peak hours. Conservation can generate 1,000 megawatts or more in electricity savings statewide—equal to the output of two large power plants.
As of Thursday morning, CAISO has given no indication of a need for rotating outages like those experienced by Californians last month.
PG&E meteorologists are forecasting a strong high-pressure system over the western United States resulting in hot and dry conditions away from the coast. Daytime highs could top out 15 to 20 degrees above normal.
PG&E routinely practices its preparedness and response to weather events and other emergencies through company exercises and drills with local first responders. PG&E also encourages our customers to have a plan for the heat.
PG&E Tips to Stay Safe and Cool
- Plan ahead: Check the weather forecast to prepare for hot days.
- Keep an emergency contact list: Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
- Have a buddy system: Check in on elderly or frail people.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, even when you are not thirsty.
- Stay cool: Take a cool shower or bath and wear lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing.
- Stay safe: Stay out of direct sunlight and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
PG&E Tips to Prepare for a Power Outage
- Keep important numbers (e.g., hospital, fire department, police, friends, relatives) near the phone.
- Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios and extra batteries on hand.
- Gather non-perishable food that doesn’t require cooking, as well as a manual can opener.
- Freeze water-filled plastic jugs to make blocks of ice. Place them in the fridge and freezer to help prevent food from spoiling.
- If you have a generator, make sure a licensed electrician properly installs it. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to our crews.
PG&E-Funded Cooling Centers
PG&E also funds the operation of existing county- or city-run cooling centers throughout the state. These centers fill a critical need for those who might need shelter from prolonged hot temperatures. To find a cooling center near you, please call your local city or county government, or call PG&E’s toll-free cooling center locator line at 1-877-474-3266 or visit pge.com/coolingcenters.