With electricity use spiking amid the searing heat, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Management Services issued a rare alert Tuesday evening, calling for Californians to immediately reduce their energy use to avoid blackouts.
“Emergency Alert: CAOES Conserve energy to protect public health and safety. Turn off nonessential power now,” the alert, which was sent to millions of mobile phones just before 6 p.m., read.
The warning, known as an “Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) 3,” indicates rotating blackouts were possible to protect the energy grid.
Earlier in the day, the state declared an EEA 2, which enabled California ISO to “bid” more energy into the market and tap power reserves.
By 8 p.m., the EEA 3 had ended, Cal ISO announced.
“Consumer conservation played a big part in protecting electric grid reliability,” the agency added, though another day of power strain was possible on Wednesday, and another Flex Alert will be in place between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Peak electricity demand was forecast to reach or exceed 52,000 megawatts Tuesday, which would mark a new all-time high for California’s power grid.
An Extreme Heat Warning remains in effect through 8 p.m. Thursday.
In a videotaped statement Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Californians to “do a little bit more” to keep electricity flowing, noting that years of drought have reduced the state’s capacity to produce hydroelectric power.
“The reality is we are living in an era of extremes,” Newsom said. “We are anticipating this extreme heat to be a length and duration of which we haven’t experienced in some time. On the supply side we’re challenged by these extremes and on the demand side, not surprisingly, people are turning up the (air conditioning).”