California’s electricity supply improved somewhat Thursday, but residents were under an energy-conservation Flex Alert for a second consecutive day and the manager of the power grid warned that the possibility of blackouts remained.
“With even greater levels of extreme heat on the way, the grid’s reliability is still threatened,” said Elliot Mainzer, chief executive of the California Independent System Operator, in a video briefing.
Thursday’s Flex Alert, in effect from 4 to 9 p.m., represents a voluntary call for conservation as the grid operator seeks to avoid a repeat of the blackouts that rolled through California for two nights during an August 2020 heat wave.
Ahead of Thursday’s alert, ISO officials announced a Flex Alert would be in place for the same time Friday.
A weeklong heat wave is threatening to overwhelm California with blackouts. Temperatures in the Sacramento area were expected to surpass 100 degrees Thursday and soar to as much as 114 degrees Monday in parts of the Sacramento Valley.
Although temperatures weren’t so high Wednesday, the Independent System Operator issued a Flex Alert after several power plants went out of commission, erasing about 1,000 megawatts of power — enough electricity for about 750,000 homes. Then the Route Fire in Castaic, near Los Angeles, knocked out a transmission line, taking another 700 megawatts off the grid.
Some of the lost power was restored Thursday, and the state was able to secure more imports from other states than previously believed, Mainzer said.
“But we are not out of the woods,” he said.
During a Flex Alert, residents are urged to turn thermostats up to 78 degrees and postpone charging their electric vehicles or using heavy appliances such as dishwashers.
California’s increasing dependence on renewable energy supplies has created vulnerabilities during extreme heat waves, particularly when the sun goes down in early evening but residents’ air conditioners are still roaring. To try to improve grid reliability, the Legislature early Thursday approved Gov. Gavin Newsom’s controversial plan to loan up to $1.4 billion to PG&E Corp. to postpone the planned 2025 shutdown of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. The plant generates about 9% of the state’s electricity supply.
©2022 The Sacramento Bee. Visit sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.