September 06 -- Amid the extreme heat that began on Wednesday and is expected to last until early next week, Californian electricity consumers have been urged not to charge their electric vehicles during peak demand hours to help ease the strain on the state’s electricity grid.
Temperatures in California and the West started rising to above 110 degrees F on Wednesday, with the heatwave expected to intensify through the holiday weekend and extend into early next week, the American Public Power Association, which represents public utilities, said.
Californians are thus expected to be asked via Flex alerts for voluntary energy conservation during the long weekend, the association added.
“During a Flex Alert, consumers are urged to reduce energy use from 4-9 p.m. when the system is most stressed because demand for electricity remains high and there is less solar energy available,” the association said.
“The top three conservation actions are to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turn off unnecessary lights,” it added.
Lowering electricity use during that time will ease the strain on the system, and prevent more drastic measures, including rotating power outages, according to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).
Earlier this year, California and other U.S. states warned of electricity shortages as grids cannot cope with the imbalance between demand and supply heading into summer. In California, officials from three state agencies forecast that the electricity shortfall could reach 1,700 MW for the full year. However, this could soar to as much as 5,000 MW if the California grid's challenges do not get resolved. This means that between 1 and 4 million people are facing power shortages.
The call on consumers for energy conservation and limiting EV charging at peak demand hours comes just days after California banned sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles from 2035.