California’s grid operator has called a statewide Flex Alert for Tuesday and Wednesday, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges its customers to conserve energy as triple-digit heat will impact much of the company’s service area.
The California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a Flex Alert, a call for voluntary electricity conservation, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday (July 24) and Wednesday (July 25). The ISO and PG&E are asking consumers to conserve electricity especially during the late afternoon when customers typically crank up their air conditioners.
ISO says factors prompting the Flex Alert are high temperatures across the Western United States, a forecast of increased demand, the lack of additional generation, tight gas supplies and high-fire risk.
PG&E meteorologists forecast that temperatures will reach near 110 degrees in the hottest locations in the Central Valley, driving up energy demand and especially air conditioner use.
ISO forecasts customer demand for energy will reach 48,179 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday. Peak load in the 20-year history of ISO is 50,270 MW on July 24, 2006.
PG&E also urges customers to stay safe during this heat wave. The company funds cooling centers throughout its service area to help customers escape the heat and cool off. To find a center near you call 1-877-474-3266.
Small behavioral changes also can make a big difference in reducing demand on the power grid during periods of extreme heat and help customers save money all summer long.
Set your air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees or higher when you’re at home, health permitting, and 85 degrees when you’re away.
Setting your AC thermostat 5 degrees higher will save about 10 percent on cooling costs.
If you turn your ceiling fan on when using the air conditioner, you can raise your thermostat about 4°F to save energy with no reduction in comfort.
Shut windows and draw the shades to keep in pre-cooled air from the night and early morning.
Have your central cooling duct system checked for leaks. Up to 20 percent of cooled air can be lost through leaky or poorly insulated ducts.
Avoid using an electric oven on hot days. Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave oven, or grill outside.