Rolling blackouts possible as power grid is stressed in triple-digit heat
CALIFORNIA — The California Independent System Operator is warning residents and businesses that rolling blackouts are possible between 5 and 10 p.m. on Thursday, as the agency issued a statewide Flex Alert.
The power grid is expected to be stressed as a multi-state heatwave drags on.
For the next several days, much of California and the Southwest are expected to see triple-digit heat with above normal temperatures spread more broadly across much of the Western United States. And like California, other Western states – including Arizona and New Mexico – are experiencing similar stressful grid conditions due to the extreme
Under such conditions, evening is the most difficult time of day for grid operations, especially in persistent hot weather when evening temperatures stay warm, because demand for electricity remains high as solar energy diminishes.
“The public’s help is essential when extreme weather or other factors beyond our control put undue stress on the electric grid,” said Elliot Mainzer, president and chief executive officer of the ISO. “We have seen the huge impact that occurs when consumers pitch in and limit their energy use. Their cooperation can really make a difference.”
According to Cal ISO, the power grids in Arizona and New Mexico are stressed, in addition to California.
“Under such conditions, evening is the most difficult time of day for grid operations, especially in persistent hot weather when evening temperatures stay warm, because demand for electricity remains high as solar energy diminishes,” Cal ISO said in a news release.
The rotating outages “extend available power supplies and guard against longer and more extensive disruptions while protecting high-voltage transmission lines from damage.”
Before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Cal ISO recommends:
- Pre-cool your home by lowering the thermostat
- Use major appliances, like your dishwasher, and clothes washer and dryer
- Close window coverings to keep your home or apartment cool
- Charge electronic devices
- Charge electric vehicles
During the Flex Alert, from 5 to 10 p.m.:
- Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, if health permits
- Avoid the use of major appliances
- Turn off all unnecessary lights
- Use fans for cooling
- Unplug unused items
- Power lines: Pixabay