High demand puts California’s electrical system near capacity

May 04 2021 05:30 pm

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Electricity demand in California may soon exceed capacity.

PG&E and other utilities are set to institute “rotating outages” which means turning off power to different areas for 1 to 2 hours until supply can meet demand.

A Flex Alert is in effect, urging everybody to conserve because once demand reaches capacity, the power starts going out.

PG&E spokesperson Denny Boyles says, “When you look at your PG&E bill one of the items on there tells you your rolling outage block that you’re in. We have a computer system that helps us match that megawatt needed with customers in rolling outage blocks. 17 Power is interrupted for 1 to 2 hours and at the end of that it rotates to the next block. That’s where “rotating outage” comes from.  It’s only done when the independent system operator says demand is going to come right against or go past what generation is.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom promised swift action to make sure this doesn’t happen again at his daily press briefing. “You can’t control the weather. But you can prepare for the weather events and let me make this crystal clear. We failed to predict and plan these shortages and that’s simply unacceptable.”

This comes at a time when finding relief from the heat is serious for several reasons including the fact that many who normally work indoors are working outdoors because of COVID.

Jennifer Song at Emerald Nails and Spa in Fresno says “It’s more than 100 degrees right here. Every morning we move all our stuff outside and after we’re done we move the stuff inside.”

Besides the flex alert in effect, rotating outages may come with little or no other notice.

Boyles says, “Friday and Saturday I can tell you we got ten minutes notice when the independent system  operator said to do it.”

During this flex alert you’re asked to avoid using appliances like clothes driers and dishwashers and to set air conditioners no cooler than 78 degrees.

Also, consider checking your air conditioner filter.  A clean filter saves a lot of electricity and cools your home faster too.

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