Story at a glance
- Companies like PG&E and California ISO are encouraging customers to conserve power as the state power grid stands to be overwhelmed.
- More customers will be relying on cooling energy, especially at night.
- The NWS encourages ample fluid intake.
As the American West faces a historic heat wave, California power companies are asking customers to consider scaling back their electricity usage to conserve energy as the hot temperatures threaten blackouts.
Government electricity grid provider California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued an advisory on Tuesday asking customers to take steps to conserve power.
“With extreme heat expected to break temperature records and linger over much of California and the West for the remainder of the week, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) is asking consumers to be prepared to conserve energy to help avoid the possibility of rotating power outages,” the advisory read.
Some steps homes can take include setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoiding using household appliances that run on a lot of power, and turning off unnecessary lights.
These appliances include dishwashers, clothing washers and dryers, closing windows to insulate cold air, and charging electric devices ahead of time.
This comes ahead of predictions of high temperatures, with some forecasts estimating temperatures up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit that could last days.
The ISO notes that California’s electric grid will likely be “strained” to keep all its customers cool during evenings. During this time, solar energy will wane, putting more pressure on state grids to function.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), another major California power company, also issued a warning ahead of major heat forecasted this week.
The company’s own meteorologists forecast regions like the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys and the inland Bay Area Valleys seeing some temperatures in the triple digits.
“We encourage customers to be prepared, stay cool and hydrated and practice safety by developing an emergency plan and checking in on neighbors,” PG&E wrote, saying they have prepared team members to respond to heat-related problems.
PG&E also encouraged customers to follow the same energy-saving steps outlined by ISO.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has placed most of California, along with parts of Arizona and Nevada under an “Excessive Heat Warning.”
Experts anticipate this to last from 11 a.m. on Thursday to 11 p.m. on Friday, warning affected residents of “dangerously hot conditions,” and temperatures up to 110 degrees.
“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors,” NWS officials advise. “Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.”