California sees 2nd day of blackouts as power grid continues to be strained

California Connection

STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) – Consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures in the Sacramento Valley could put a strain on the power grid, according the California Independent System Operator.

“We’re not getting relief in the overnight temperatures. The buildings are not cooling off, the infrastructure doesn’t have a chance to cool down and so what’s happening is the air conditioning just has to work longer and harder to cool spaces,” said Anne Gonzales, spokeswoman for California ISO.

Gonzales said the strain forced them to declare a Stage 3 Emergency which led to statewide rotating blackouts Friday night.

“We have extremely high heat is, you know, causing people to want to turn on their air conditioners and because of that electricity demand. Basically, we did not have enough energy to cover the demand at a certain time on the grid,” Gonzales explained.

It’s the first time a Stage 3 Emergency had been issued in 19 years. 

“Our number one responsibility is to make sure that the power keeps flowing,” Gonzales said.

The blackouts began around 6:30 p.m. By 9 p.m., the grid had stabilized, and power was being restored.

The emergency order was lifted just before 10 p.m. 

“It’s a rare, it’s a rare event. Yes. And obviously, it’s a last resort,” Gonzales said.

On Saturday, the state was under a grid warning notice meaning grid operators anticipate using electricity reserves and activates their demand response program to decrease usage.

“We’re hoping that we do not have to call for rotating power outages,” Gonzales said. “We don’t have any plans to call for them today.”

But Gonzalez said that could change, and it did.

Around 6:28 p.m., California ISO directed PG&E to begin rotating blackouts.

According to PG&E, the blackouts affected about 200,000 to 250,000 customers. The order to restore power was issued only 20 minutes later.

“It’s always wise to conserve and it’s always helpful.” Gonzales advised.

According to California ISO, a couple of simple ways to conserve power is to set your thermostat at 78 degrees and to not run major appliances like your dishwasher or washing machine during peak hours. 

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