A Flex Alert was issued for Wednesday as California grapples with higher than normal temperatures that are posing a risk to the state’s electric grid.
The statewide alert will be in place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, in an attempt to avoid power disruptions and rolling blackouts, the California Independent System Operator, which runs most of the state’s electric grid, said in a news release Tuesday.
Flex Alerts are a call to consumers to voluntarily conserve energy when demand for power could outstrip supply, which generally occurs during heat waves when electrical demand is high. Such conservation would help ease the strain on the grid during the crucial evening hours when solar energy is diminished or no longer available, the ISO said.
“With higher than normal temperatures in the forecast for parts of interior Northern California, the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use,” the agency said. “The increase can make electricity supplies tight and cause strain on our power grid.”
Dry and warm conditions were expressed across the Los Angeles area through Thursday, with similar conditions again returning Sunday and early next week, according to the National Weather Service.
Before the Flex Alert takes effect and when solar energy is abundant, residents are encouraged to take these steps to be comfortable and help grid operators balance supply and demand:
- Pre-cool your home by lowering the thermostat to 72 degrees
- If you need to use your major appliances, do it before the Flex Alert is in effect, when solar energy is plentiful
- Close blinds and drapes to keep the heat out of your home or apartment
- Charge electronic devices and electric vehicles so there’s no need to do it later
During the Flex Alert period, consumers are encouraged to:
- Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, or use fans to cool the home, if your health permits
- Avoid using major appliances, like dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers
- Turn off all unnecessary lights
- Unplug unused items
Rolling blackouts have become a method for utility companies in the state to intentionally turn off the power when it gets too windy in dry summer months to prevent power lines from toppling and starting wildfires. Such blackouts in August 2020 were the first in nearly two decades caused by an energy shortage.