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California issues Flex Alert for Wednesday to save energy amid severe heat

  • Aug 18, 2022
Napa Valley Register

The manager of California's power grid issued a Flex Alert for Wednesday afternoon and evening as the state seeks to avoid blackouts during a week-long heat wave.

As the National Weather Service forecast temperatures as high as 109 degrees in parts of the Sacramento Valley, the California Independent System Operator issued a Flex Alert for 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.

A Flex Alert is a call for voluntary energy conservation. The grid operator urged Californians to cool off their homes early in the day but then take electricity-savings steps later, including turning up thermostats and avoiding using dishwashers and other heavy appliances.

Conservation "can help stabilize the power grid during a time of tight supply conditions, and prevent further emergency measures, including power outages," the organization said.

California is trying to avoid a repeat of August 2020, when a mammoth heat wave caused two consecutive nights of rolling blackouts, plunging hundreds of thousands of residents into the dark for several hours. Another round of blackouts was narrowly averted last July.

Since then the state has been trying to bolster electricity supplies, sometimes in controversial ways. The state has postponed the scheduled shutdown of a group of heavily polluting gas-fired power plants in Southern California, and last week Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the Legislature to loan $1.4 billion to PG&E Corp. so the utility can prolong the life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, the last of its kind in the state.

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