California heatwave set to boost Flex alerts for energy grid

On the eve of what is expected to be California’s longest and most intense heatwave of the year, state power grid operators are warning residents to prepare for flex alerts and other measures emergency.

The heat wave – the result of a large hot air dome sitting over central and southern California – is expected to begin Wednesday and last through Tuesday next week.

Record-breaking heat is possible Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday and Monday, according to the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.

Temperatures along the coast could range from 80 to 95 degrees Wednesday through Saturday, before rising to as high as 100 degrees Sunday and Monday, the weather service said.

Valleys and mountains could be hit with temperatures of 95 to 110 degrees Wednesday through Saturday, and highs of up to 115 degrees on Sunday and Monday, meteorologists said.

For officials at the California Independent System Operator, which operates the Golden State power grid, a long and painful period of high temperatures means flex alerts are likely.

“If weather or grid conditions worsen, ISO may issue a series of emergency notifications to access additional resources and prepare market participants and the public for potential energy shortages and the need to conserve,” officials warned Tuesday evening. “The electric grid operator plans to call Californians for voluntary energy conservation through Flex Alerts over the long weekend.”

During a Flex Alert, consumers are asked to reduce their energy consumption from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., times when the grid is most in demand due to high demand and less energy available from solar panels.

If a Flex Alert is issued, customers will be asked to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turn off unnecessary lights.

Reducing demand on the grid can prevent further emergency measures, such as power outages, officials said.

Cal ISO said it was taking steps “to bring all available resources online,” including issuing orders for restricted maintenance operations Wednesday through Tuesday, noon to 10 p.m. each day.

Officials said they were monitoring conditions closely and would provide updates as needed.

Los Angeles Times

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