SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. August 15, 2020 – Based on current power usage forecasts from the state’s electric grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) may be required to conduct rotating power outages Saturday night between 5:00 and 10:00 PM. A final decision by CAISO will be made later today.
PG&E’s emergency operations center is open and the team is continuing to monitor the situation throughout the weekend and into next week. As the statewide heatwave continues, PG&E strongly encourages all customers to conserve energy through next Wednesday.
Potential Saturday Evening Rotating Outages
Due to increasingly hot weather across the state coupled with cloud cover in Southern California impacting utility-scale solar assets, CAISO has issued a Grid Warning Notice and may require PG&E to conduct rotating outages later this evening. These outages would be one to two hours in duration. No customers should be impacted overnight.
No final decisions have been made to proceed with rotating outages by CAISO at this time. Other power utilities in the state may be requested to take similar measures.
Recap: Friday Night’s Rotating Outages
On Friday night, PG&E was directed by CAISO to turn off power to approximately 220,000 customers to help relieve the strain on the power grid during the statewide heatwave. This directive was issued due to a lack of adequate energy supply statewide. PG&E responded to CAISO’s directive within 10 minutes.
These outages were not related to any issues with PG&E’s equipment or its ability to deliver energy locally. Other power utilities in the state were directed to conduct similar rotating outages Friday.
The first customers were impacted at approximately 6:35 p.m. Friday. Once PG&E received clearance from CAISO to restore power, PG&E worked safety and quickly to turn sections of the grid back on. Power was restored to most customers within a few hours. Restoration was fully complete by approximately 10:15 p.m.
PG&E Tips to Save Energy and Reduce Usage
- Raise the thermostat: Set the thermostat to 78 degrees when at home, health permitting. Turn it up to 85 degrees or turn it off when not at home.
- Use a ceiling fan: Turn on a ceiling fan when using the air conditioner, which will allow the thermostat to be raised about 4 degrees to save on cooling costs with no reduction in comfort. Turn off fans and lights when you leave the room.
- Cover windows: Use shade coverings and awnings so the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool the home.
- Avoid using the oven: Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside.
- Limit the opening of refrigerators, which are major users of electricity in most homes. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day.
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 people with access and function needs.
- 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.
Rotating Outages are Not Public Safety Power Shutoffs
Rotating outages are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are conducted during specific high fire threat conditions. Rotating outages are called by the CAISO and power utilities are required to act when demand on the statewide electric grid exceeds available energy supply.