The California Independent System Operator (ISO) ordered a level 3 Energy Emergency Alert Tuesday, as a historic heatwave has led to historic power consumption and threats of blackouts.
With the threat of rolling blackouts looming, the state managed to avert the power shutoffs, despite a peak power usage recorded at 52,061 megawatts. The previous peak megawatt record came on July 24, 2006, with 50,270 megawatts used at 2:44 p.m.
“California ISO power grid peak demand hit 52,061 MW, a new all-time record,” California ISO wrote in a tweet. “Conservation is making a difference.”
At 8 p.m., the grid operator ended the Energy Emergency Alert 3, saying “consumer conservation played a big part in protecting electric grid reliability.”
The last time state-ordered blackouts occurred was August 2020, when California ISO called for two days of rolling blackouts, affecting roughly 800,000 residential homes and businesses. Before 2020, the state had gone close to 20 years without ordering utility blackouts.
“Outages are a significant inconvenience to those affected, but it’s preferable to manage emergencies in a controlled manner rather than let it cause a wider spread, longer lasting disruption,” California ISO wrote in a Tuesday update. “Power interruptions are kept as brief as possible and utilities rotate them through their customer base so that no one area has prolonged outages.”
Los Angeles County experienced its 7th straight day with temperatures upward of 100 degrees, with forecasts projecting 100-degree days until Saturday, when highs will begin to dip into the high-to-mid 80s and low 90s.
California has experienced daily flex alerts since Wednesday, August 31 and will again call on residents and businesses to conserve power from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday.
During the flex alert, Californians are encouraged to take action before 4 p.m. by “pre-cooling” their homes to 72 degrees, use their major appliances in advance and charge electric cars if needed.
Between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., the peak hours of typical energy consumption, residents are advised to turn off lights, not use major appliances and set their thermostats to 78 degrees.
Reminder: A #FlexAlert has been extended to Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 4-9 p.m. pic.twitter.com/6PDx5MaY1o
— California ISO (@California_ISO) September 7, 2022
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