SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. August 18, 2020 – Based on current energy supply forecasts, rotating power outages are likely to occur Tuesday. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges customers to conserve electricity in response to the California Independent System Operator’s (ISO) statewide Flex Alert called for Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. CAISO is the organization that manages the state’s power grid.
The CAISO on Friday (Aug, 14) announced a series of Flex Alerts amid forecasts of extended, above-normal temperatures across California. Extreme heat is forecasted to last at least through Thursday. The prolonged heat is expected to drive electricity demand higher, as nighttime temperatures are also forecast to be above average.
Outages are estimated to last about two hours. PG&E’s Emergency Operations Center is activated and working closely with the CAISO to support this event.
Energy Conservation is Key
Thanks in part to conservation among customers across the service area on Monday, the CAISO did not have to call on PG&E and other utilities to conduct rotating outages Monday night. Continued conservation during each Flex Alert will help protect the state’s grid through this ongoing heatwave.
Find Out if Your Address Could be Affected Today
If the CAISO does order PG&E to initiate rotating outages, customers can look up their address to determine if their household will be affected. Visit www.pge.com/rotatingoutages to look up your address.
Reason for Rotating Outages
Rotating outages (Stage 3 Emergencies) are necessary when the CAISO is unable to meet minimum contingency reserve requirements and load interruption is imminent or in progress. These emergencies are declared by the CAISO. During these emergencies, the CAISO will typically order the state’s utilities, including PG&E, to reduce electric load by turning off service immediately to prevent larger outages on the grid. Due to the emergency nature of these outages, utilities may not be able to give advance warning to customers.
These outages are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are called during specific high fire-threat conditions, and they are not related to any issues with PG&E’s equipment or its ability to deliver energy locally.
Energy Conservation Tips
PG&E strongly urges customers to reduce electricity use during the Flex Alert, especially during the afternoon and evening, when air conditioners typically run at peak use. Customers should also follow these conservation tips:
- Raise the thermostat: Cool homes and use air conditioners more during morning hours. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees when at home during the rest of the day, 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.
- Clean clothes and dishes early: Use large energy-consuming appliances like washing machines and dishwashers earlier in the day or late at night after 10:00 pm.
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.