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With electric transmission lines from Oregon still threatened due to the fast-growing Bootleg Fire and continued hot temperatures in California and throughout the West, the state’s grid operator has issued a Flex Alert for today (Monday, July 12), asking for voluntary conservation from 4-9 p.m.
Californians who conserve energy this afternoon and evening will help stabilize the state’s electric grid and help respond to the uncertainty caused by the heat and the Oregon fire, says the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).
The grid operator’s statewide Flex Alert for Monday asks all Californians to work together and conserve electricity.
The grid operator noted that when Flex Alerts were called on Friday and Saturday, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) customers and other Californians significantly reduced their energy use. That allowed the grid operator to avoid or limit possible rotating power outages that can become necessary when demand for electricity outstrips capacity.
The Bootleg Fire more than tripled in size over the weekend. It caused transmission lines to trip off on Friday and again Saturday, limiting electricity flow from the Pacific Northwest to California and other states. Power supplies to the CAISO’s service territory, which covers about 80 percent of the state, have been reduced by as much as 3,500 megawatts because of the fire.
Daytime highs will reach the 108 to 113 degrees today in the hottest Central Valley locations such as Redding, Fresno and Bakersfield, according to PG&E meteorologists. An Excessive Heat Warning issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect across much of the Central Valley and adjacent foothills through tomorrow evening.
Saving energy at home
Here are ways PG&E customers can cut their power use and help keep the lights (and air conditioning) on for everyone:
- Pre-cool your home or workspace. Lower your thermostat in the morning. As the temperature rises outside, raise your thermostat and circulate the pre-cooled air with a fan.
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health permitting: Every degree you lower the thermostat means your air conditioner must work even harder to keep your home cool.
- When it’s cooler outside, bring the cool air in: If the outside air is cool in the night or early morning, open windows and doors and use fans to cool your home.
- Close your shades: Sunlight passing through windows heats your home and makes your air conditioner work harder. Block this heat by keeping blinds or drapes closed on the sunny side of your home.
- Avoid using major appliances like dishwashers and washing machines and dryers between 4-9 p.m.
- Charge your EVs outside peak hours. Along with using large appliances, remember to charge your electric vehicle in the morning or after 9 p.m.
- Clear the area around your AC unit: Your air-conditioning unit will operate more efficiently if it has plenty of room to breathe. The air conditioner’s outdoor unit, the condenser, needs to be able to circulate air without any interruption or obstruction.
PG&E’s Demand Response programs offer incentives for business owners and residential customers who curtail their energy use during times of peak demand. PG&E has several of these programs, totaling about 261,000 enrolled PG&E customers.
PG&E is prepared for this extreme heat and, based on forecasts, doesn’t anticipate issues meeting increased demand for power.
Also, at this time, the grid operator has not indicated that it plans to call for rotating outages. PG&E does not project a need for a Public Safety Power Shutoff due to this weather, but the company’s meteorology team will continuously monitor conditions.
PG&E also urges customers to stay safe during this heat wave. The company funds cooling centers throughout its service area to help customers escape the heat and cool off. To find a center near you click here or call 1-877-474-3266.