A statewide Flex Alert calling for residents to voluntarily conserve electricity remains in effect Monday through Wednesday, with state officials continuing to warn of rolling outages.
The California Independent System Operator issued the alert on Sunday, saying there is insufficient energy to meet high consumer demand during the record-breaking heat wave. To minimize the need for controlled outages, residents were asked to use air conditioning early in the day and set thermostats at 78 in the afternoon and evening hours, while avoiding the use of major appliances between the hours of 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The alert came after blackouts Friday and Saturday that Gov. Gavin Newsom said came without warning. He called the weekend service disruptions “unacceptable” and announced Monday that he had signed an emergency proclamation to free up energy capacity.
The proclamation allows some users and utilities to access backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the grid during peak times.
Over the weekend, state officials worked to bring more resources online, including increased power from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the California State Water Project and investor-owned utilities, according to the governor’s office. The state has also worked with industrial and commercial consumers to tamp down energy consumption during peak hours and increase public awareness around energy saving measures.
On Sunday, Newsom met with members of the California Independent System Operator, California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and senior administration officials.
In a letter written after the meeting, the governor said the blackouts were called Friday and Saturday without notice and demanded an investigation.
“Residents, communities and other governmental organizations did not receive sufficient warning that these de-energizations could occur. Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians,” Newsom wrote. “This cannot stand. California residents and businesses deserve better from their government.”
Power providers say a lack of supply from sources outside the state contributed to the shortage, as other Western states struggled to meet their own demand during the heat wave.
In order to save as much energy as possible, consumers are urged to shift their use to morning and nighttime hours and avoid using appliances and air conditioning in the late afternoon and evening hours. Late in the day, temperatures remain high but solar production falls as the sun sets.
Tips for conserving energy include:
— set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees;
— defer use of major appliances;
— turn off unnecessary lights;
— unplug unused electrical devices;
— close blinds and drapes;
— rely on fans when possible; and
— limit time the refrigerator door is open.
Consumers can also pre-cool their homes during earlier hours, when they can also charge electric vehicles, medical equipment, mobile devices and laptops and run major appliances. Pool pumps can be set to run in the early morning or late at night.
More conservation tips can be found at flexalert.org.
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