Power transmission lines run through Jacumba Hot Springs. File photo

With searing heat expected to drive up air- conditioner use across California, the manager of the state’s power grid issued a Flex Alert Wednesday calling on residents to conserve as much electricity as possible from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The California Independent System Operator issued the Flex Alert “due to high temperatures pushing up energy demand and tightening available power supplies.”

“With excessive heat in the forecast across much of the state and Western U.S., the grid operator is expecting high electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use, and is calling for voluntary conservation steps to help balance supply and demand,” according to Cal-ISO.

The power system operators warned that more Flex Alerts are likely to be posted in the coming week and through the Labor Day weekend.

During the alerts, residents are urged to take power-saving steps such as

  • Setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher
  • Avoiding use of major appliances
  • Turning off unnecessary lights
  • Avoid charging electric vehicles

Residents were advised to pre-cool their homes as much as possible, and close blinds and drapes to keep interiors cool.

A Flex Alert is the lowest-level notification issued by Cal-ISO, but if voluntary conservation fails to cut strain on the power grid, the agency could move into a series of emergency alerts that could ultimately lead to rolling blackouts.

–City News Service


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Ellen Bullock