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    Thermostats in California state buildings will go to 78 degrees — and then 80 — to save power


    September 6, 2022 - Dale Kasler, The Sacramento Bee

     

      State workers in Sacramento will return from the Labor Day holiday to offices considerably warmer than usual.

      And a bit hotter than what most residents will experience.

      With California struggling to avoid blackouts and energy consumption expected to hit a record, the state will set its thermostats at 78 degrees starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

      For those working late, the thermostats will jump to 80 degrees at 5 p.m., said Erin Mellon, spokeswoman for Gov. Gavin Newsom.

      Mellon said the directive applies to state offices in Sacramento, which is home to nearly 100,000 state workers.

      The 80-degree setting goes 2 degrees beyond the threshold urged by the state’s power grid manager, the Independent System Operator.

      The ISO has issued a Flex Alert for Tuesday asking Californians to conserve energy from 4 to 9 p.m. In a Flex Alert, residents are urged to turn thermostats to 78 and delay using major appliances. It will mark the seventh consecutive day of Flex Alerts as California tries to cope with an unprecedented heat wave that’s sending temperatures past 110 degrees in many parts of the state.

      The power grid was in danger of experiencing blackouts Monday evening, and electricity demands for Tuesday were forecast to hit 51,144 megawatts, breaking a record set in 2006.

      After California was hit with two nights of rolling blackouts during an August 2020 heatwave, Newsom and his staff have labored to shore up the grid’s reliability. More than 8,000 megawatts of new capacity have been brought online.

      But the grid is still vulnerable during evenings, as a result of the state’s increasing reliability on green energy. Solar power wanes but air conditioners keep humming, resulting in serious strains on the power supply.

      ©2022 The Sacramento Bee. Visit sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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