The essence of humor is timing. Months ago I wondered what the chances were of a blackout on the day before or day of the California recall election. Probably not gonna happen. But at least there are some reminders of the state of the California energy grid within the electorate’s short term memory period. Is Gavin Newsom punching the walls today? Five days until election.

From the California ISO

For immediate release | Sept. 9, 2021

Flex Alert issued for today due to widespread heat in West
Consumers urged to reduce energy use from 4-9 p.m. to relieve grid stress

FOLSOM, Calif. – The California Independent System Operator (ISO) has extended a statewide Flex Alert for a second day, issuing a call for voluntary electricity conservation for today, Sept. 9, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., because of hot weather affecting much of California and the West, and tight energy supply margins in the market.

Today’s Flex Alert follows yesterday’s conservation call, also due to above-normal temperatures in the western states. During a Flex Alert, consumers are urged to conserve electricity from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. by setting their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and deferring use of major appliances and unnecessary lights during that time.

The ISO also issued a system-wide Restricted Maintenance Operations (RMO) order for today and tomorrow from noon to 9 p.m., delaying routine maintenance of generation and transmission equipment so that all available resources are online for the critical evening time.

The Flex Alerts have been issued due to above-normal temperatures leading to high electricity demand in California and parts of the western US, narrow margins of supply, and cloud cover creating uncertainty for renewable generation forecasts.

Temperatures in the Northern California inland region are forecast to be 3-10 degrees warmer than normal. In Southern California, temperatures are expected to be 5-10 degrees warmer than normal through the weekend, primarily for the interior, although coastal regions are forecast to see some warming as well.

Above-normal temperatures throughout much of the interior western US are also expected this week, with some cities seeing a potential for record-breaking heat. Widespread heat waves affecting other western states limits the California ISO’s ability to import energy from neighboring power grids.

The ISO is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use. The increase can stretch electricity supplies thin and cause strain on our power grid, especially in the late afternoon and evening, when solar production goes offline and wind generation is uncertain, however, temperatures and electricity demand remains high.

Consumers are urged to conserve electricity, especially during the late afternoon and early evening, when the grid is most stressed due to higher demand and solar energy production falling.

Reducing energy use during a Flex Alert can help stabilize the power grid during a time of tight supply conditions, and prevent further emergency measures, including rotating power outages.

For information on Flex Alerts, and to get more electricity conservation tips, visit FlexAlert.org.

During a Flex Alert
• Set thermostat at 78° or higher, if health permits
• Avoid using major appliances
• Turn off unnecessary lights
• Use fans for cooling
• Unplug unused items
Learn more about Flex Alerts and what you can do to prepare before an alert (Tips available in ESPAÑOL and TIẾNG VIỆT )

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September 9, 2021