UNITED STATES. California: To prevent blackouts amid record-breaking temperatures, California’s grid operator issued an emergency call for consumers and businesses to conserve energy for Tuesday’s seventh day in a row.
As the sun sets and the state’s abundant supply of solar-generated electricity diminishes in the late afternoon and early evening, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) urged residents to conserve energy.
The grid operator increased its emergency alert level to take advantage of initiatives that provide financial incentives to minimize energy use and purchase more electricity from the market. Moving closer to instituting rotational outages, it stated that it would probably boost the warning level again.
Record-breaking temperatures in California
The National Weather Service predicts that California will continue to see record-breaking temperatures this week, with highs in the heart of the state approaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit (mid-40 degrees Celsius).
Tuesday afternoon saw the hottest temperature ever recorded in Sacramento, the state’s capital, at 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius).
Elliot Mainzer, CEO of the ISO, stated in a video clip shared on Twitter, “I know this has been a very long hot wave, and we’re not asking you to do even more.” The statement continued, “But please stick with us and don’t use any more power than is necessary.”
According to the ISO, demand would reach a high of 51,698 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday, breaking the previous record of 50,270 MW set in 2006, before dropping to 49,868 MW on Wednesday.
By Tuesday afternoon, nearly a fifth of the state’s energy needs were met by solar energy.
The ISO said it would give utilities the go-ahead to impose rotating outages if the electricity demand exceeds the grid’s energy reserves. It would be the first time the state has taken such action since a severe heat wave in August 2020 caused power outages to affect some 800,000 households and businesses over two days.
Tuesday saw a spike in U.S. power costs in California and other western states to their highest level since the summer of 2020.