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California Warns Consumers To Use Less Power As Heatwave Nears

The California Independent Systems Operator has issued a flex alert, urging consumers to reduce their electricity consumption today between 4 and 9 pm because of a supply shortage combined with high temperatures.

“With above-normal temperatures in the forecast for much of California and the West, the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use,” CAISO said.

A day earlier, CAISO declared a Restricted Maintenance Operation that deferred maintenance to Wednesday, between 12 and 9 pm on all grid assets.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the coastal area of the state was in no danger of excessive heat, but mountain parts of southern California and the inland were at risk of higher than usual temperatures, per the LA office of the National Weather Service.

Among the recommendations CAISO has made to consumers is pre-cooling their homes, using their major appliances before the flex alert goes into effect, charging their electronics earlier in the day, and covering their windows to keep the house cool.

This is not the first time CAISO has urged Californians to conserve energy to avoid a grid breakdown. In the summer of 2020, parts of the state were subjected to rolling blackouts as a heatwave coincided with tight supply yet again.

At the time, Governor Gavin Newsom asked the relevant agencies for an explanation, which eventually included more effort dedicated to integrating wind and solar power generation capacity into the grid. However, the agencies in question, including CAISO, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the California Energy Commission (CEC), made a note of saying that it was not California’s growing dependence on renewable energy sources that had necessitated the blackouts.

Earlier this year, an extended drought caused worry as it led to a sharp decline in the power output of California’s hydropower stations. A flex alert was again issued, and power utility PG&E warned it might need to deploy another series of rolling blackouts.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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