PG&E rolling power outages possible through Wednesday after California ISO issues Flex Alert to conserve energy, officials say – KGO-TV
As the statewide heat wave continues, PG&E says California’s Grid Operator will likely direct them to initiate rotating power outages starting Sunday evening. Customers need to be prepared for rolling blackouts through Wednesday evening.
Around 6 p.m., PG&E said rolling blackouts on Sunday night were expected to affect customers in portions of San Francisco, San Mateo and Contra Costa Counties. The utility said no customers should be impacted overnight and outages are estimated to last one to two hours.
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) issued a flex alert on Sunday, asking people to conserve electricity each day from 3 p.m. through 10 p.m., when temperatures remain high and solar production is failing due to the sun setting.
Cal ISO said the record-breaking heat is causing a strain on supplies.
The ISO issued a statewide Flex Alert, a call for voluntary electricity conservation, today through Wednesday, 3 to 10 p.m. each day. Record-breaking heat is straining supplies; consumers should plan for potential outages. https://t.co/qaxmGA5suu pic.twitter.com/KiDlDdkrwm
— California ISO (@California_ISO) August 16, 2020
VIDEO: What is a Flex Alert?
ABC7 News spoke to PG&E this afternoon to get a better explanation as to how the blackouts would work.
“This is really a statewide issue, it’s not just a Bay Area issue or a PG&E issue cause it is rotating blocks so it’s like 200,000 to 250,000 customers at a time, but depending upon how long the supply and demand challenge exists it’s multiple groups of 200,000 to 250,000 so one group will be out for an hour and then another group will be out for an hour, hour and a half, most of these outages will be relatively short,” PG&E Spokesperson Jeff Smith said.
PG&E says the decision is squarely on Cal ISO and in some instances the utility is given just a few minutes to cut the power.
PG&E strongly encourages all customers to conserve energy amid the hot weather and offers these 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.
For the latest on PG&E outages across the Bay Area click here.
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