Excessive heat warning: California could experience unprecedented high electricity demand as the state enters a brutal period of ongoing heat wave


LOS ANGELES– Tuesday marks the seventh day in a row that California’s power grid operators have called for voluntary power conservation across the state, and forecasts for the day show the state is vying with its record high power demand. .

State energy officials said electric load Tuesday afternoon could top 51,000 megawatts, the highest demand the state has ever seen.

“It’s about to get a lot more intense,” Elliot Mainzer, president and CEO of the California Independent System Operator, said Monday.

The system operator is responsible for managing and maintaining the reliability of the electrical grid, a difficult task in hot weather when power demand skyrockets as people crank up their air conditioners.

Grid operators have several options available before power outages, such as running backup generators, buying more power from other states, and using so-called demand response programs, where people are paid to use less. of energy.

They have since requested the use of backup generators in Roseville and Yuba City. Officials say that in total, these generators can supply up to 120 megawatts of electricity to the grid, which is enough to power 120,000 homes. In addition to the Northern California standby generators, the California Department of Water Resources coordinates with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric Company for the use of dozens of its standby generators.

But keeping the lights on will also force Californians to keep conserving like they have, even as temperatures rise.

Most of California’s 39 million people face extremely hot weather.

Temperatures in Los Angeles topped 100 degrees this week, which is unusually hot temperatures for September. The Bay Area is also seeing triple-digit temperatures — with one city expected to hit 118 degrees on Tuesday.

Energy officials and power companies have urged people to use less energy from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. by keeping air conditioners at 78 degrees or higher and avoiding using large appliances like stoves and dishwashers.

These flexible alerts have allowed the network operator to keep the lights on so far.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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