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The ISO declares Stage 2 Emergency; power outages possible during heat wave

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UPDATE: The California ISO issued a Stage 3 alert at 6:36 PM due to the reserve being deficient. The ISO requires load curtailments, use of Interruptible Loads, and requests Out-of-Market (OOM) and emergency energy from all available sources.

  • California and the Southwest US will be experiencing near-record or record-breaking heat, up to 10-20 degrees above normal in some areas.
  • With excessively high temperatures forecast for California, the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from residential air conditioning use. 
  • Above-normal temperatures for the West, including California, are expected to last through the weekend and into late next week.

CALIFORNIA — The California Independent System Operator (ISO) has declared a statewide Stage 2 Emergency for Friday, August 14, due to excessive heat driving up electricity use and putting strain on the grid.

During this emergency, if system conditions do not improve, the ISO would declare a Stage 3, which will lead to rotating power outages.

With excessively high temperatures forecast for California, the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from residential air conditioning use. Conservation efforts could be critical to maintaining reliability on the power system.

The ISO is working closely with utilities and neighboring power systems to manage the strain on the grid and to limit any potential power disruptions.

Consumers are urged to conserve electricity, especially during the late afternoon and early evening, when the grid is most stressed due to higher demand and solar energy production falling. Consumers are urged to set air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off unnecessary lights, and use major appliances before 3 p.m. and after 10 p.m.

These conservation measures can help the power grid during a time of tight demand and supply. Reduced energy use during a Flex Alert can prevent further emergency measures, including the incidence of rotating power outages.

The ISO also issued a warning earlier today that encouraged energy resources to participate in the ISO market and allowed the grid operator to request utilities implement demand response programs to reduce residential and business electricity use.

California and the Southwest US will be experiencing near-record or record-breaking heat, up to 10-20 degrees above normal in some areas. Above-normal temperatures for the West, including California, are expected to last through the weekend and into late next week.

Interruptible Loads are comprised of customers from Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric who opt for service under “Interruptible Rate Schedules” and “Emergency Curtailment” tariffs authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission that provide for periodic curtailments by the California ISO. The ISO will also curtail loads that elect to participate in California ISO Load Interruption Programs.

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