As residents awoke to another day of searing hot temperatures Monday in much of California, they were being asked to conserve energy again for the sixth straight day as state energy regulators warned that rotating blackouts were highly likely.
The California Independent System Operator Monday issued a Flex Alert for 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., meaning residents must minimize their energy usage during peak hours to keep the state’s power grid from overloading.
Although Monterey County was cooler than much of the rest of the state, temperatures were still in the mid-70s on the coast and mid-90s in Salinas by early afternoon. Similar temperatures were expected for much of the week.
“Starting (Tuesday), this multi-day event is going to get much more intense,” said ISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer in a press release. “We are facing a load forecast of 48,817 megawatts and energy deficits between 2,000 and 4,000 megawatts for Monday, resulting in the highest likelihood of rotating outages we have seen so far this summer.”
Because of the increasingly extreme conditions Californians were facing Monday, the state ISO said they would need “significant additional consumer demand reduction” between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. That’s a change of an hour from Sunday’s 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Flex Alert, which officials say is “because of projected market deficiencies through 10 p.m.”
Regulators are also asking people to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using major appliances and turn off all unnecessary lights.
The state’s power grid won’t be out of the woods after Monday though, as officials are also projecting that Tuesday will be another “challenging” day with the highest temperatures forecast all week and projected electricity demand of 50,099 megawatts, well above the peak loads of 44,123 megawatts Saturday and 45,776 megawatts Sunday.
Grid operators and fire officials are also keeping a close eye on wildfires which have the potential to impact generators and transmission wires. Fire officials have warned that more fires could break out in the coming days due to prolonged high heat and dry conditions.
“We thank electricity consumers for their sustained effort to help us maintain reliability during these very difficult conditions,” Mainzer said in a statement.
There was a significant power outage in much of Pacific Grove, affecting up to 5,000 customers starting early Monday afternoon. PG&E announced it was investigating the reason for the power outage and anticipating power to be back by late afternoon Monday.
The Monterey Herald contributed to this report.