SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — As California enters the sixth day of a record heatwave, current energy supply forecasts indicate that rotating power outages are still possible Wednesday. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges customers to conserve electricity in response to the California Independent System Operator’s (ISO) statewide Flex Alert called for Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. CAISO is the organization that manages the state’s power grid.
CAISO has requested that customers of all sizes start conserving energy earlier today—from 2 p.m to 9 p.m.
The CAISO on Friday (Aug, 14) announced a series of daily Flex Alerts amid forecasts of extended, above-normal temperatures across California. Extreme heat is forecasted to last at least through Thursday. The prolonged heat, including above-average temperatures at night, is driving electricity demand higher.
Outages are expected to last about two hours. PG&E’s Emergency Operations Center is activated and working closely with the CAISO to support this weather event.
Energy Conservation is Key
Following Flex Alerts on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Californians stepped up to respond in tremendous numbers to calls for energy conservation.
Thanks in large part to those conservation efforts, the CAISO did not have to call on PG&E and other utilities to conduct rotating outages on any of those days. Continued conservation is the best way for customers to reduce overall demand and help prevent stress on the electric supply that could lead to power outages.
Find Out if Your Address Could be Affected Today
If the CAISO does order PG&E to initiate rotating outages, customers can look up their address to determine if their household will be affected. Visit www.pge.com/rotatingoutages to look up your address.
Reason for Rotating Outages
Rotating outages (Stage 3 Emergencies) are necessary when the CAISO is unable to meet minimum contingency reserve requirements and load interruption is imminent or in progress. These emergencies are declared by the CAISO. During these emergencies, the CAISO will typically order the state’s utilities, including PG&E, to reduce electric load by turning off service immediately to prevent larger outages on the grid. Due to the emergency nature of these outages, utilities may not be able to give advance warning to customers.
These outages are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are called during specific high fire-threat conditions, and they are not related to any issues with PG&E’s equipment or its ability to deliver energy locally.
Energy Conservation Tips
PG&E strongly urges customers to reduce electricity use during the Flex Alert, especially during the afternoon and evening, when air conditioners typically run at peak use. Customers should also follow these conservation tips:
· Raise the thermostat: Cool homes and use air conditioners more during morning hours. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees when at home during the rest of the day, health permitting. Turn it up to 85 degrees or turn it off when not at home.
· Use a ceiling fan: Turn on a ceiling fan when using the air conditioner, which will allow the thermostat to be raised about 4 degrees to save on cooling costs with no reduction in comfort. Turn off fans and lights when you leave the room.
· Cover windows: Use shade coverings and awnings so the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool the home.
· Avoid using the oven: Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside.
· Limit the opening of refrigerators, which are major users of electricity in most homes. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day.
· Clean clothes and dishes early: Use large energy-consuming appliances like washing machines and dishwashers earlier in the day or late at night after 10:00 pm.
PG&E Tips to Stay Safe and Cool
· Plan ahead: Check the weather forecast to prepare for hot days.
· Keep an emergency contact list: Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
· Have a buddy system: Check in on elderly or people with access and function needs.
· Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, even when you are not thirsty.
· Stay cool: Take a cool shower or bath and wear lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing.
· Stay safe: Stay out of direct sunlight and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.