California power officials put out a plea: Shut it down at 4 p.m. to protect the grid

Power lines in Long Beach. During a Flex Alert, consumers are asked to conserve energy from 4 to 9 p.m., hours when the grid is most stressed. Picture by Luis Sinco
Power lines in Long Beach. During a Flex Alert, consumers are asked to conserve energy from 4 to 9 p.m., hours when the grid is most stressed. Picture by Luis Sinco

Facing a dire forecast of record heat continuing through midweek, a state power official asked the public to observe a Flex Alert that was issued Saturday and extended into Sunday, the fifth consecutive day.

The alternative could be rolling blackouts, said Elliot Mainzer, president and chief executive of the California Independent System Operator, which manages the power grid.

During a Flex Alert, consumers are asked to conserve energy from 4 to 9 p.m., hours when the grid is most stressed.

When we’re in a situation like this, where we’re right up against the margin of system capability and you have the kinds of threats to reliability from fires and generation plants coming off line, that consumer flexible demand, that response, can be the difference between the lights staying on or not,” Mainzer said during a briefing organized Saturday morning by the state Office of Emergency Services.

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Power demand Thursday evening reached its highest level since September 2017, he said.

Multiple generators have been forced out of service due to the extreme heat, making energy supplies tighter. Grid operators are also watching at least two major wildfires threatening transmission lines and power plants in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.

These last few days are likely to be a dress rehearsal for what’s going to be a considerably more stressed set of conditions as we get into the heart of the weekend,” Mainzer said.

The hottest temperatures are still ahead, National Weather Service emergency response specialist Sarah Rogowski said in Saturday’s briefing.

Rogowski said record to near-record temperatures were expected early to midweek, in the 80s and 90s along the coast and 100 to 115 in the Central Valley and inland regions of Southern California.

We are looking at temperatures 10 to 25 degrees above normal for this time of year,” Rogowski said. Those will be compounded by unusually high overnight temperatures up to the 90s in some areas of Southern California.

We’re not getting that overnight relief,” she said.

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Relief will come starting Thursday in the north and then Thursday afternoon and early Friday in Southern California, Rogowski said. Even then, temperatures will remain above normal.

Due to the elevated heat and dryness, California fire officials are positioning forces to respond quickly to new fires or battle a major blaze, said Chris Anthony, chief deputy director of the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The hottest and driest days are still ahead of us,” Anthony said. “The extreme heat coupled with this persistent drought we’re in, as well as the bone dry vegetation, really make for the perfect ingredients for rapid fire spread.

Anthony said there are 4,346 firefighters assigned to active fires in California. Progress made on the Route fire in Castaic, which has burned more than 5,000 acres since Wednesday but was listed as 71% contained Saturday, will allow resources to be drawn to other parts of the state.

In Southern California, temperatures were approaching records midday Saturday in the Antelope Valley and western San Fernando Valley, and slightly higher temperatures were predicted for Sunday, National Weather Service forecaster Kristen Stewart said.

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Saturday’s high temperatures reached 98 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, 104 in Pasadena, 106 in Van Nuys and 107 in Santa Clarita.

Lancaster was measuring 106 degrees at 12:30, two degrees below the record for the day. Woodland Hills, also at 106, was still well below its record of 114 degrees but was forecast to reach 113 on Sunday.

Along the coast, UCLA reached 90 by midday and Long Beach 97, both several degrees below their records.

Southern California Edison was experiencing an unusual number of heat-related power outages but has been able to restore power quickly, spokesman Ben Gallagher said. Because of the heat, crews were put on standby, equipment was stockpiled and regular maintenance was postponed, he said.

We’re continuing to encourage our customers to conserve,” he said.

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Californians are strongly urged to lower electricity use by setting thermostats to 78 or higher, health permitting, avoiding use of major appliances, and turning off all unnecessary lights, officials said.

Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Office of Emergency Services, advised the public to stay indoors as much as possible and to use shopping centers or public cooling centers as refuge if outdoors. The locations of 122 cooling centers in Los Angeles County are mapped on the county’s website. [LA Times] has been banned from ad networks and is now entirely reader-supported CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT MY WORK… I will send you a small gemstone if you give more than 25$… Thanks in advance!

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  1. Well, these areas had rolling blackouts. Temps went up, people must have used their appliances too much, and kablooey to the power grid. I imagine when we have more EV’s things will be much better when demand exceeds output. /sarc.

    •Livermore: 5,666 customers without power
    •Cupertino: 2,187 customers without power
    •Pleasant Hill: 2,080 customers without power
    •Morgan Hill: 1,914 customers without power
    •Santa Clara: 1,582 customers without power
    •San Carlos: 1,489 customers without power
    •Walnut Creek: 1,346 customers without power
    •Pleasanton: 1,105 customers without power
    •Rohnert Park: 1,009 customers without power
    •San Jose: 1,072 customers without power
    •Vallejo: 882 customers without power

  2. @ .50cal

    Cali is so heavily chemtrailed that the weather is NOTHING like it was 10 years ago. I saw some woman in Australia complaining about their recent chemsoup…but OUR skies have already looked like that for years!

    Yes, Santa Monica or Long Beach or anywhere near the coast is probably nice…but only the 1% can afford to live there. Once you drive 30 minutes due east from virtually ANYWHERE in California, it starts to heat up substantially. I’m about an hour east of L.A. Trust me: everybody in my region places one thing as the highest priority…and that is air conditioning! LOL

    If power goes out for any length of time, some of the older folks are definitely going to kick the bucket. This is a desert…people aren’t supposed to be living out here…any more than they are in Phoenix or Vegas. But most of us were born into this world where we are and there’s not much we can do to change it. Also…this is not “pool” weather….you have to be covered up in this kind of unnatural sun or you’ll be severly burned in short time.

    • Yeah, further east, inland is hotter. I agree on that. I used to live by the water. It’s 93° in the mountains here and 6,000 feet elevation, so it’s plenty hot, but I still watered all my south and west trees, and was soaked from sweating it out. Now, the solar a/c is paying me back for all the money I threw at it, plus the sol ark 5k inverter, and lithium/ion batteries. Drank half gallon of water with lemon oil in it. On my second half gallon now, have more work outside lined up.

      We have four days more heat enroute, so it will be weather from our west (from your area). I have at least 300 trees to maintain. If I miss my schedule, things can burn easily. I don’t burn much. I just get darker. Out here you can soak your t-shirt and put it on, and in ten minutes it is dry. We had a great monsoon season, but now is like the last lap on a mile run. Gotta bear down, and git er done.

  3. @ .50cal

    I’m in California not far from L.A. and it it 110 F today…..well above normal. Swimming pools are for those who are well-to-to and can afford such luxuries. Not everyone has generational wealth and loads of land….or the opportunity to “party.” And Death Valley hit 127 today…approaching the all-time record. They are manipulating weather with technology. This “Heat Dome” is the result of them moving moisture away from farmland. This is all part of the larger operation to exterminate most of the life on this planet. So, I don’t know what fantasy world you’re in , as regards the situation isn’t dire here in California.

    • @over here,
      110° is up getting there. 106° was what I remember as when LA people started complaining 30 years ago. Having been through numerous Arizona summers, where temps hit 118°-122° for weeks on end—the 110° you are feeling is like Palm Springs type heat. Hit the beach, public pools are open, or hit the a/c. Most homes and buildings in LA are HVAC equipped. 110° isn’t quite as bad as what I have been through, and that was working outside doing construction type work in 118° -122°.

      • SF Valley was at 110°. The valley always heats up from what I remember. All those people beat the heat, and head to the beach. There’s lots of pools there (valley area) too. Go try and enjoy your three-day vacation. Don’t be a wuss. Lol.

  4. I know! Let’s mandate that all the clean coal and gas fired power plants be shut down. Let’s then mothball all of our Nuclear power as well. But most importantly let’s not replace this power loss with adequate and comfortable green ( oxymoronic ) energy generation capability!!
    Then when the weather gets warm we can tell the citizens it’s their damn fault !!

    Why California’s citizens haven ridden these scumbags out on a rail is baffling to me.

    • @Elijah’s ghost,
      California elections have been rigged to keep communists in power for a long time. Look what happened to Larry Elder (L.A. times labeled him the blackface of the kkk, lol) and the Newsome recall. Both should have passed easily. If we had free and fair elections bozobiden would have lost in a landslide. Communists can’t win on their political platforms, so they have to cheat. Their ridiculous ideas never hold up to scrutiny or analysis. They will rarely engage and debate their issues publicly with their opponents —as they know their ideas are asinine.

  5. The temperatures listed were below record levels. Once upon a time, I lived in Kalifornia when it was still considered a decent state, almost 30 years ago. We always had high temps during labor day weekend. Most people hit the beach, where temps are cooler. That was what we always did. The seawater is usually low 70°. So you swim, surf, and exercise, check out the ladies. Play volleyball. Now, we always see these media driven fear psyops, and conserve power alerts in the news. It’s fricken stupid. Go about your business, and ignore these idiots. Go swimming in the pool like normal people. Don’t party too hard in the heat. That is more dangerous than flex alerts.

    • You are exactly correct.
      Shut down the A/C today and see how many seniors, stuck in their homes, are breathing in the morning.
      Looks like that “virtue” investment in “green energy” isn’t really paying off. I sure do miss San Onofre.

      • Yeah Bill it’s harder on seniors. I’m one now. I still work outside in the heat, but do it in 20-30 minute increments. I remember many years ago we lost power in AZ, and it was 118°. I filled my bath with cold water and lay in it for a long time. Kept hydrated, and made it through the night.
        It’s pretty assbackwards to shut down coal and nuclear, without a solid solution in place. The grid will never support 15,000,000 EV and everybody knows it. How the heck are tractor trailers going to haul heavy freight on battery power? How are planes going to fly on electrical? What about military and construction equipment? It does not seem planned out well. More like planned to fail.

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