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California ISO says conservation may be needed to thwart rotating power outages

The state's grid operator could ask people to conserve energy to avoid possible power outages this week.
Credit: John Smith - stock.adobe.com
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CALIFORNIA, USA — A heat wave is looming over California, and in response, the state's power grid operator said there might be calls for conservation to avoid rotating outages.

The news comes as the California Independent System Operator (ISO) said an "abnormally strong ridge of heat" is expected to bring temperatures as high as 115 degrees to California's interior this week. 

With extreme heat and nighttime lows expected to cool down to between 78 and 83 degrees, the ISO said the power grid will be straining to meet evening demand when air conditioners are in heavy use and solar power generation is waning.

"The ISO’s own projections currently show electricity demand exceeding power supplies that are guaranteed under the state’s Resource Adequacy (RA) requirements for several days this week," the ISO said in a news release.

The ISO added that the biggest projected deficit is for Thursday between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

As of June 15, the ISO isn't expecting rotating power outages for the week, but they do expect supplies to be tight in the evenings for the next several days. They expect their market to make up any difference between demand and supply.

Officials said people should be ready to conserve energy, which could help avoid rotating power outages. Preparation could include setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoiding the use of major appliances, and turning off unnecessary lights.

In the event of a Flex Alert calling for voluntary conservation between 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and possibly Thursday, people would be encouraged to take other steps to manage electricity use before the alert takes effect. This includes pre-cooling the home, using major appliances like dishwasher or washer and dryer, closing window coverings, and charging electronic devices and electric vehicles.

WATCH ALSO: How to stay cool, save money amid heatwave

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