The California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) said that power outages Sunday were averted because consumers voluntarily cut back on electricity usage. The announcement came via a Tweet just before 9:00PM Sunday.
Earlier, Cal ISO issued a dire warning that rolling power blackouts were “likely” starting at 4:00PM Sunday unless Californians drastically reduced power consumption. As many as 3-million people could have lost lights and air conditioning on a rotating basis for one to two hours.
Cal ISO stated, “Based on the current forecast and without significant conservation efforts, rotating
power outages are likely throughout the state today between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.”
Cal ISO added, “Temperatures during this current heat storm are expected to peak today, pushing
demand for energy beyond levels of available supply. There is currently not a sufficient
supply of energy to meet the high amounts of demand during the heatwave.”
The record breaking heat which enveloped much of the state had put a tremendous drain on the power grid with unprecedented demand for air conditioning. To compound the problem, a 915 megawatt hydroelectric plant went offline Saturday night because of the Creek Fire in Madera County.
In preparation for possible outages, the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) issued a news release Sunday afternoon advising customers of potential rolling blackouts. In that release, IID which has 155,000 customers in Imperial County and parts of the Coachella Valley stated, ““Energy conservation is essential in helping reduce the possibility of widespread rotating outages and the number of people impacted. Understandably, it may be difficult to reduce energy use during the high temperatures and the ongoing pandemic.”
Southern California Edison issued an urgent appeal for customers to cut back as much as possible, setting air conditioning at higher temperatures, and refraining from non-essential electrical use including holding off on laundry, running dish washers, and anything that requires large amounts of electricity.
In northern and central California, PG&E issued warnings to 103,000 of its customers that they could face rolling blackouts.
Cal ISO issued a Flex Alert earlier asking for customers to reduce electrical usage. A Stage 2 emergency went into effect Saturday afternoon, however, blackouts were averted then because consumers responded by lowering power consumption. With temperatures today running hotter than Saturday and with the hydro plant down due to the fire, the situation Sunday is much more critical.
By early afternoon Sunday, scorching temperatures were already taking their toll. Woodland Hills recorded an official high of 121 degrees, making that the hottest temperature ever recorded in Los Angeles County history. Palm Springs reached 120 on Sunday, two degrees shy of Saturday’s 122 record. By 2:00PM readings included 117 in Riverside, 108 in Santa Ana, 105 in downtown Los Angeles, 113 in Burbank. Even normally cool spots were experiencing extreme heat including Long Beach at 100 and San Diego at 97. In the cooler San Francisco Bay Area, numerous records had been broken by 2:00PM where it was 110 degrees in Los Altos, 109 in Fairfield, 108 in Santa Rosa, 106 in Walnut Creek, 102 in San Jose, and 96 in downtown San Francisco.