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State warns of possible rotating power outages Tuesday amid heat wave

California Independent System Operator projects demand to exceed 52K megawatts

California's power grid operator has warned of potential rotating power outages during the evening hours of Sept. 6, 2022. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

With electricity demand possibly hitting a historic all-time high for the state on Tuesday amid a prolonged heat wave, the California Independent System Operator warned residents to be ready for potential rotating power outages in the evening hours.

Officials at CAISO, which manages electricity over the state's high-voltage transmission lines, are projecting demand to exceed 52,000 megawatts Tuesday evening as the Bay Area and other places in the state have seen triple-digit temperatures for multiple days in a row. Monday's peak demand was 49,020 megawatts.

CAISO says it expects to declare an Energy Emergency Alert 3 around 5:30 p.m., a procedural move that puts it one step away from ordering rotating power outages. If power reserves are exhausted, the power grid operator says it will order utilities like PG&E to begin rotating outages until the demand meets available supplies.

Stanford University doesn't expect its main campus to be included in the planned outages, but its Redwood City campus may be impacted. Updates will be posted on the university's Emergency Information page.

PG&E had more than 12,000 customers reporting outages around the Bay Area as of shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday, including more than 8,200 in the East Bay, utility spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian said.

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In August 2020, two days of planned outages affected about 800,000 homes and businesses during another statewide heat wave, the first time in nearly 20 years of outages ordered in the state due to insufficient supplies, according to CAISO.

The grid operator issued a Flex Alert, calling on people to use as little electricity as possible between 4-9 p.m. Tuesday and offering tips like setting their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoiding the use of major appliances and turning off of any unnecessary lights.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's office said energy conservation efforts on Monday saved 1,000 megawatts of power in the state but that an additional 2,000 megawatts of savings will be needed tonight to meet the higher forecasted demand.

"Californians have stepped up in a big way during this record heat wave, but with the hottest temperatures here now, the risk of outages is real. We all have to double down on conserving energy to reduce the unprecedented strain on the grid," Newsom said in a statement.

Many state buildings are powering down their lights and air conditioning and California has installed emergency generators to try to meet the demand, according to the governor's office.

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State warns of possible rotating power outages Tuesday amid heat wave

California Independent System Operator projects demand to exceed 52K megawatts

by Bay City News Service /

Uploaded: Tue, Sep 6, 2022, 6:37 pm

With electricity demand possibly hitting a historic all-time high for the state on Tuesday amid a prolonged heat wave, the California Independent System Operator warned residents to be ready for potential rotating power outages in the evening hours.

Officials at CAISO, which manages electricity over the state's high-voltage transmission lines, are projecting demand to exceed 52,000 megawatts Tuesday evening as the Bay Area and other places in the state have seen triple-digit temperatures for multiple days in a row. Monday's peak demand was 49,020 megawatts.

CAISO says it expects to declare an Energy Emergency Alert 3 around 5:30 p.m., a procedural move that puts it one step away from ordering rotating power outages. If power reserves are exhausted, the power grid operator says it will order utilities like PG&E to begin rotating outages until the demand meets available supplies.

Stanford University doesn't expect its main campus to be included in the planned outages, but its Redwood City campus may be impacted. Updates will be posted on the university's Emergency Information page.

PG&E had more than 12,000 customers reporting outages around the Bay Area as of shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday, including more than 8,200 in the East Bay, utility spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian said.

In August 2020, two days of planned outages affected about 800,000 homes and businesses during another statewide heat wave, the first time in nearly 20 years of outages ordered in the state due to insufficient supplies, according to CAISO.

The grid operator issued a Flex Alert, calling on people to use as little electricity as possible between 4-9 p.m. Tuesday and offering tips like setting their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoiding the use of major appliances and turning off of any unnecessary lights.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's office said energy conservation efforts on Monday saved 1,000 megawatts of power in the state but that an additional 2,000 megawatts of savings will be needed tonight to meet the higher forecasted demand.

"Californians have stepped up in a big way during this record heat wave, but with the hottest temperatures here now, the risk of outages is real. We all have to double down on conserving energy to reduce the unprecedented strain on the grid," Newsom said in a statement.

Many state buildings are powering down their lights and air conditioning and California has installed emergency generators to try to meet the demand, according to the governor's office.

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