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Flex Alert issued across California starting Thursday

California ISO has issued a Flex Alert that runs from 3 - 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) issued a Flex Alert for 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15.

Californians are asked to conserve electricity during those hours to avoid rolling blackouts due to strain on the power grid. Energy conservation can lessen the chances of power outages or interruptions.

"With hot temperatures in the forecast, the power grid operator is predicting higher than normal electricity demand today, primarily from air conditioning use," California ISO said in a press release. "Heat advisories continue to blanket the Southern California coast and parts of the Northern California Bay Area region."

Shifting energy usage to the morning and nighttime would help lessen the strain during the peak hours of the Flex Alert.

The National Weather Service issued a red-flag warning that started at 5 a.m. Wednesday and lasts through Friday morning. With bone-dry humidity and wind gusts possibly hitting 55 mph, PG&E initiated power shutoffs to roughly 54,000 customers in two dozen counties, including Butte, El Dorado, Placer, Solano and Yuba counties.

The Flex Alert is to help with capacity gaps in the system. According to CAISO, it is unrelated to PG&E's power shutoffs. 

"Wildfires also are a concern to the reliability of the grid, as red flag warnings are in effect for much of Northern California through Friday morning. Fire can cause outages on transmission lines delivering electricity to homes and businesses," CAISO officials said. "Currently no wildfires are directly threatening high-voltage lines, and the ISO is monitoring developments closely and coordinating with fire strike teams throughout the state."

CAISO is asking Californians to do the following during the Flex Alert hours:

  • Set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees, if health permits
  • Try not to use major appliances
  • Turn off unnecessary lights
  • Unplug unused electrical devices
  • Close blinds and drapes
  • Use fans when possible
  • Limit time the refrigerator door is open

Californians can also do these things to prepare for energy conservation before 3 p.m.:

  • “Pre-cool” homes by lowering air conditioning thermostats to 72 degrees
  • Charge electric vehicles
  • Charge mobile devices and laptops
  • Run dishwashers, washing machines and other major appliances
  • Set pool pumps to run in the early morning or late at night

WATCH MORE: California wildfires: Dry winter, record heat & lightning event lead to unprecedented fire season