Blackouts Monday averted-Cal ISO: “Conservation efforts worked”


The California Independent System Operator (ISO) tonight issued the following announcement that no rotating power outages are anticipated, thanks to reduced demand due
to consumer conservation and cooler than expected weather.

The grid operator earlier declared a Stage 2 Emergency, and had expected to have to
order load shed to take the strain off the grid. Demand, however, came in lower than
forecast. The Stage 2 Emergency was cancelled at 7:30 p.m.

“We are grateful to families and businesses across the state that answered the call to
reduce electricity use during a crucial time on the grid,” said Steve Berberich, ISO
president and CEO. “This heat storm is not over, and we still expect exceedingly hot
temperatures tomorrow and Wednesday. With continued help from California residents
in conserving energy, much like today, we can reduce the risk of power outages.
“Our grid operators and all the ISO staff have been doing everything they can to find
energy to cover demand during this heat wave and to keep the system balanced during
an extreme heat wave,” Berberich said. “We urge consumers to continue to help us in
our mission.”


California’s record-breaking heat wave has put extraordinary strain on the ISO electric
system, as air conditioners are working harder and longer to keep spaces cool during
the high temperatures.

In an effort to prevent or limit power outages during this heat wave, the ISO issued a
statewide Flex Alert, a call for voluntary electricity conservation, through Wednesday.
The Flex Alerts are in effect from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day. Because of high heat and
limited energy supplies, rotating power outages still are likely over the next two days.



Buckling under a record breaking heat wave, The California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) warned Monday afternoon that more rolling blackouts would likely plunge California into darkness over the next three days.  The new round of power outages were forecast to begin Monday afternoon as Cal ISO said the power demand will outstrip supply by 4,400 megawatts.

The alert came less than an hour after Governor Gavin Newsom urged Californians to cut back on power usage during the electricity strain which caused hundreds of thousands of the state’s residents to lose electricity Friday and Saturday evenings.  The Governor signed an emergency proclamation Monday that frees up some power reserves.

Cal ISO Chair Steve Berberich earlier Monday said, “It is near certain” that utilities will have to cut off power to “millions” of people this week.  But as of Monday night, the outages had been averted.

Shortly before 2:00PM Monday, PG&E began sending automated phone messages to thousands of its customers in northern and central California advising them to prepare for blackouts between 3:00PM and 10:00PM.  PG&E said the outages could last between one and two hours.

Southern California Edison which cut power to scattered parts of the southland during the weekend is asking customers to reduce air conditioning use and refrain from using non-essential appliances during the hours of 3:00PM to 10:00PM.  On its website, Edison said the utility had been informed by Cal ISO that there would be an “electricity deficiency” and there simply would not be enough electricity available, resulting in forced blackouts.

It has been nearly 20 years since California experienced the type of power shortages it is now encountering.  Governor Newsom is calling for an investigation into what happened and why.  In a letter, Newsom stated, “These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state. Residents, communities and other governmental organizations did not receive sufficient warning that these de-energizations could occur. Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians. This cannot stand. California residents and businesses deserve better from their government.”

Some businesses have been asked to close early and the California DMV announced it will close all offices statewide at 3:00PM through Wednesday to reduce power consumption.


To check SCE’s rolling blackout page click here.

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