Californians Asked to Conserve Power Amid Brutal Heat Wave

Californians sweltering in the West’s lengthening heat wave were asked to reduce air conditioning and cut other electricity use again during critical hours Friday and again Saturday to prevent stress on the state’s electrical grid that could lead to rolling blackouts.

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Saturday will be the fourth consecutive day of requests by the state’s electrical grid operator for voluntary cutbacks during late afternoon and evening hours to balance supply and demand as millions of residents endured triple-digit temperatures.

The California Independent System Operator said multiple generators have been forced out of service because of the extreme heat, making energy supplies tighter.

Electricity demand on Thursday hit a peak of 47,357 megawatts, the highest since September 2017. Cal ISO credited conservation and reduced commercial use with keeping the grid stable.

“The major concern now is even higher temperatures forecast for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, with projected loads climbing to more than 49,000 megawatts on Tuesday,” Cal ISO said in a statement.

In August 2020, a record heat wave caused a surge in power use for air conditioning that overtaxed the grid. That caused two consecutive nights of rolling blackouts, affecting hundreds of thousands of residential and business customers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday declared an emergency to increase energy production and relaxed rules aimed at curbing air pollution and global warming gases. He emphasized the role climate change was playing in the heat wave.

“September is off to a searing start in the West with record breaking temperatures and fire weather expected to expand and settle over that part of the country this Labor Day weekend,” the National Weather Service said.

Author Stephanie Solomon, 33, brought her pet tortoise along with a portable baby pool with a miniature umbrella to keep it cool while selling her children’s books at the Huntington Beach Pier.

“It is really hot out here today. Well, Penelope Joy is a desert tortoise, so I think she is the only one that’s really enjoying this heat as hot as it is today,” said Solomon, as surfers and swimmers sought refuge in the ocean below.

Solomon said she was mindful of the power situation and her air conditioning was off while she was away .But she planned to activate it by phone on her walk home to “make sure it’s nice and cool in there.”

That wasn’t an option for some when temperatures climbed into the 90s on Tuesday in Colorado. About 22,000 Xcel Energy customers could not increase their air conditioning after getting messages saying thermostats were temporarily locked.

The customers had signed up for a program allowing the utility to adjust them to four degrees above the previous setting when demand for electricity is high, the company said.

Usually, customers can choose to override the adjustments, but the company said that was not allowed because of an emergency due to an unexpected loss of power generation and the heat.

One customer, Christopher Empson, said his thermostat was locked at 81 degrees (27.2 Celsius). He said he had no memory of signing up for the program, and he wished there was more communication about what the company had the power to do.

“I was kind of blindsided,” he said, and “there are some folks that, if their thermostat gets locked, that can be life or death.”

California’s “Flex Alerts” urge conservation between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., the hours when production of solar energy declines. The grid operator urges people to use major appliances, charge electric cars and cool down their homes earlier in the day, then turn up thermostats to 78 degrees (25.5 Celsius) or higher.

“The No. 1 most effective conservation measure is to set thermostats to 78 or higher” because air conditioners are the biggest users of electricity in the summer, Anne Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the grid operator, said in an email.

“We have traditionally asked for 78 degrees, because it has a good effect on our demand, and is still comfortable to allow consumers to easily participate,” she said. “We always ask consumers to set it higher, if they can, and if health permits.”

Keeping temperatures too low can cause air conditioners to run constantly, added Jay Apt, professor at the Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering.

“If you set that puppy too low, it’s going to run all the time,” said Apt. “That’s going to do two things, the first is that it is going to use an awful lot of energy and the second is that it’s not going to give recovery time.”

The goal is to allow units to cycle on and off, said Apt, and 78 degrees is a rough estimate for the sweet spot that can vary depending on a building’s insulation.

In California, customers of Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation’s largest utility, can volunteer to let the company control their internet-connected thermostats during heat waves. The program automatically adjusts the thermostat schedule so it uses less energy during times of peak demand.

Customers can get $75 for participating and can opt out of it by simply changing their thermostat to a different temperature. The company does not lock thermostats, PG&E spokesperson Katie Allen said.

California cities and counties, meanwhile, were opening cooling centers.

“We have opened cooling centers in the past, but this heat wave looks like it’s the real thing,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, health officer in Contra Costa County east of San Francisco.

Some of the cooling centers will be specifically for homeless people, and an outreach team will also go out to hand out water to the homeless and inform them of available resources, Tzvieli said.

Read the full article at AP News


  1. Read the fine print, don’t be tempted by govt incentives (financial or perceived virtue signaling) to participate in any program such as what was described in Colorado. Be responsible for yourself and your family and use common sense when it comes to energy usage. The govt isn’t going to fix the grid, they’re going to make it worse with the need for electricity to power EVERYTHING! Get ready.

  2. Well, I was not asked to conserve power, I was forced. Friday afternoon at 4:30pm my AC stopped cooling to the temp programmed into my NEST thermostat. By 6pm my house was at 80 degrees, and hovered between 82 and 80 for the rest of evening. Nothing I did returned my system to full cooling. The compression was barely running and my fan unit was at low speed.

    Yet, at 7:30 am my AC was again running as normal.

    So now NEST, is determining how much cooling I am allowed? I am considering a class action if I can find others who are having the same thing happen. When I purchased a smart thermostat, I though I was being eco wise. I did not think I was giving my control.iver my life to some liberal, idiot tech company who not thinks they can determine what I am entitled to purchase.

    • I would not consider for a split second having ANY of my home connect to the internet.

      This is just the beginning. You won’t miss your NEST!

  3. Does anyone fully understand that the Government with their attack on fossil fuel and switch to unreliable alternatives as well as damaging to the environment in the long hall is setting the lemmings up for the huge increases in utility and taxes to overhaul the whole antiquated grid?

    • It’s part of the Great Reset. Use “Green Energy” and Viruses to control the people. Collapse the economy to create dependency on the government. These are the two “attack vectors”. Our Elite rulers in Davos are advancing fast. Both Justin Trudeau and Gavin Newsom have been anointed “Young Global Leaders” by Klaus Schwab. Trudeau is ahead on the “conversion” because he is not slowed by the 1st and 2nd Amendments. His buddy Newsom is trying his hardest. Read Glenn Beck’s new book: “The Great Reset” for more. It’s the one with Soros, Biden and Klaus Schwab on the cover.

      • Get over it alreadly. Soros, Biden, all the evil people….they are toast. Literally.
        For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
        And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
        And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
        And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
        LEFTIST demonic freaks who will never be saved and have willfully ignored God. Here’s their end: Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

  4. And what about all the power plants the Govt and AQMD made the power plant owners permanently disable because of emissions concerns. Thousands of megawatts sit retired.
    Be nice to have them back.?

  5. LMAO! California is really in the Twilight Zone.

    No more internal combustion engines by 2035. EVERYONE BUY EV’s.

    Wait! Let’s keep Diablo Canyon nuclear plant open because we just realized we don’t and won’t have enough power for all these electric toys people will plug into the grid.

    By the way, we’re having a heat wave so DO NOT CHARGE YOUR EV!

    It would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad!

  6. I’m feeling so woke today that I think I will buy a new EV and walk to work.

  7. 1984 is no longer fiction, it is here, and George Soros is responsible for ruining America without firing a bullet. He has imploded America from within. He has purchased all of the progressive dictators Newsom, Bass, Gascon and the list goes on and on in every blue state. Now he is mobilizing and sending his recruits and paid for forces to the red states. God have mercy on us all. The dumb voters who are unaware of the current state of decay will move out of California and go to another red state and ruin it with their crappy vote that ruined this state. It should be against the law, or they should be deported to a communist country that they so embrace while hating America.


  9. Disgusted California voter says

    So – just like the water crisis – Nuisance creates a problem, blames it on us, and reaps money and power!!!! The man is a lying piece of excrement!

    All of you who supposedly voted for this idiot – congratulations. You’ve made this state almost un-livable. However – we KNOW who owns the Dominion voting machines, and it’s NOT We The People!!!

    Nuisance, you’re the laughing stock of the state and you’re too stupid to know it.

  10. The RandyGuy says

    My thermostat will be dropped to 72 today. FGN.

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