Cal ISO Extends Flex Alert: Cut Back on Electricity

August 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, issued a statewide Flex Alert that will be in effect from 1 to 10 p.m. tomorrow, calling for voluntary electricity

“Consumers are urged to conserve electricity especially during the late afternoon when air conditioners typically are at peak use,” the California ISO said in a statement. “Consumers can help avoid power interruptions by turning off all unnecessary lights, using major appliances before 1 p.m. and after 10 p.m. and setting air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher.”

The ISO noted that power demand could reach record levels on Friday thanks to the continuing heat wave. Power supplies are expected to be tight nationwide, as will natural gas supplies in Southern California, due to operating limitations on the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near Porter Ranch, according to Cal-ISO.

“Southern California Gas Co. and the ISO are following the processes established to manage gas supply in the LA Basin during the limitations placed on the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility,” according to Cal-ISO. “The generation fleet has performed well so far during this prolonged heat wave without any major outages.”

Flex Alert: Heat Wave Prompts Call to Cut Energy

June 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

With a heat wave gripping the region, a Flex Alert urging residents to voluntarily conserve electricity to ease demand on the statewide power system was in effect today, and will be repeated Wednesday afternoon.

The Flex Alert issued by the California Independent System Operator, which manages the statewide power grid, took effect at 2 p.m. and will remain in force until 9 p.m. It will be in effect during the same hours Wednesday.

Cal-ISO officials urged residents to make an extra effort to conserve during late afternoon hours, when air conditioners tend to be used most. The agency predicted peak usage on Tuesday and Wednesday to exceed 47,000 megawatts, and noted that widespread air-condition use can put strain on the electrical system.

According to Cal-ISO’s website, electrical demand late Monday afternoon reached nearly 43,800 megawatts. Demand on Sunday peaked at just more than 39,000 megawatts. The highest demand ever recorded by the system was 50,270 megawatts, which occurred on July 24, 2006.

A Flex Alert is issued when the electrical grid is “under stress,” generally from increased power usage due to hot weather.

Cal-ISO officials urged residents to take steps such as:

— setting thermostats at 78 degrees or higher;

— close drapes and use fans to cool rooms;

— turn off unnecessary lights and appliances; and

— delay using major appliances until early in the morning or late in the evening.

Extreme Heat Causing Power Outages

June 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Record-setting temperatures in the Southland climbed well past the 100-degree mark on the hottest day of a brutal three-day heat wave, causing widespread power outages, raging wildfires and prompting officials to issue excessive heat warnings.

A Flex-Alert was in effect until 9 p.m. today by the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO), the state agency that matches private and public electricity generating resources to the amount of demand.

The heat was blamed for at least some of the outages reported yesterday and today by Southern California Edison. At one point today, more than 20,000 SCE customers were without power, but restorations brought that number down to about 11,600 at 3 p.m., with the majority of those outages occurring in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, a spokesperson said.

One outage in Downey today impacted as many as 13,500 SCE customers, but crews were able to reduce that number to about 2,600 by 3 p.m.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported 17 outages in its service area, with nearly 5,000 customers impacted as of 4 p.m. Officials said crews are working to restore power as soon as possible.

SCE officials said most of the outages were caused by equipment failure.

A Flex-Alert is a request for customers to voluntarily conserve electricity, including turning off unneeded lighting, postponing the use of major appliances including washing machines and dryers, and setting air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher.

The LADWP urged residents to prepare for possible power outages by having flashlights and batteries readily available and keeping a battery-operated radio handy. Officials also recommended that people keep a phone charger in a car to ensure they can contact friends or relatives during an outage, keep a supply of non-perishable food and have a cooler available to use for food that needs to be refrigerated.

A red-flag warning signifying a risk of wildfire will be in effect until 8 p.m. Tuesday in the San Gabriel Mountains and through 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Santa Barbara mountains and south coast, where the 7,892-acre Sherpa Fire continued to burn.

Amid soaring temperatures and bone-dry conditions, a pair of fast-moving brush fires tore through vegetation today in the Angeles National Forest and the foothills above Duarte and Azusa, exploding across more than 2,000 acres. Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and the Los Angeles County Fire Department were battling the blazes, but there was no containment as of mid- afternoon.

The National Weather Service warned that very high temperatures, humidity dipping into single digits at times and locally gusty winds will increase fire danger in the area through Tuesday.

Burbank reached 107 degrees at 10:19 a.m. today, topping the record for this day of 106 degrees, set in 2008, according to the NWS. Los Angeles International Airport had a temperature of 95 degrees at 8:43 a.m., topping the 1973 record for this day of 92 degrees, but forecasters say a shift in winds
quickly dropped temperatures at the airport to the upper 70s before it began rising again as the day wore on.

Minor relief was expected in coastal and valley areas beginning Tuesday, but the San Gabriel Mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley were to remain dangerously hot.

“Dangerous heat-related illness is possible, especially for sensitive populations, those conducting outdoor activities, and people without access to air conditioning,” the NWS said.

Dr. Karen Smith, California Department of Public Health director and State Public Health officer, underscored the seriousness of the hazards posed by high temperatures.

“Heat-related emergencies cause dozens of deaths in California each year and prompt thousands of people to seek treatment at local emergency rooms,” Smith said. “In 2006, nearly 200 people died in California from extreme heat. High temperatures need to be taken very seriously. People should protect themselves and watch out for others who might be vulnerable.”

The Department of Public Health recommends that Southern Californians stay safe during the heat wave by:

— keeping an eye on weather forecasts and alerts from local officials;

— learning to recognize heat-related illnesses;

— staying out of direct sunlight and staying hydrated;
— reducing physical activity;
— identifying a cool location — a mall, library, theater or designated cooling center; the Los Angeles Police Department recommends calling 311 within city limits and 211 within county limits to find the nearest cooling station;

— wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and sunscreen;

— checking on pets, friends, family and neighbors who may be especially sensitive to excessive heat.

Additionally, the NWS notes that anyone overcome by the high temperatures should call 911 because heat stroke is an emergency.

The county agency and NWS forecasters also reminded residents they should never leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a few minutes.

Animal services officials say pet owners must make sure their animals are kept cool during the heat wave. They should watch for signs of heat stroke, such as fast and noisy breathing, difficulty swallowing and distressed behavior.

If heat stroke is suspected, pet owners should place a cold, wet towel on the back of the animal’s head, and towel-wrapped cold compresses on their back legs and belly. The pet should be immediately taken to a veterinarian to be checked.

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