Power Lines

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has issued a Flex Alert for the entire state of California, urging people to try to conserve power. The alert is in effect starting Saturday and extends through Monday, from 3 to 9 p.m. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) also sent out an announcement on Sept. 3, asking its customers to conserve energy during the afternoons and evenings Labor Day weekend.

CAISO oversees the operation of much of California’s power grid system and issues Flex Alerts, which indicate that it’s predicting elevated power use. When it comes to this weekend, CAISO is predicting an increase in the use of power due to a predicted increase in temperatures throughout the state.

According to the Bay Area National Weather Service (NWS), an excessive heat warning has been issued for this weekend, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday and continuing to 9 p.m. on Monday. An Oct. 2 update from the NWS predicted that, throughout the bay area, coastal temperatures would be between 70 and 85 degrees, Bay Area temperatures would be between 85 and 95 degrees and interior areas of the Bay Area will reach 95 to 110 degrees. In addition to elevated temperatures, NWS said that areas will receive little temperature relief overnight.

Locally, temperatures in Cloverdale and Healdsburg are expected to hit triple-digits throughout the weekend, hitting approximately 107 degrees on Sunday. The NWS-predicted high for Sebastopol hovering at around 100 degrees. True to its nature, west county is predicted to be cooler, with Bodega Bay hovering between 70 and 80 degrees over the weekend. Windsor is expected to have a high of 105 on Sunday, with the triple digits persisting through Tuesday.

“A Flex Alert is an urgent call by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to conserve electricity and shift demand to off-peak hours. Conservation can generate 1,000 megawatts or more in electricity savings statewide — equal to the output of two large power plants,” PG&E spokesperson Deanna Contreras said. “As of Thursday morning, CAISO has given no indication of a need for rotating outages like those experienced by Californians last month. PG&E meteorologists are forecasting a strong high-pressure system over the western United States resulting in hot and dry conditions away from the coast. Daytime highs could top out 15 to 20 degrees above normal.”

According to CAISO’s website, during a Flex Alert, people are encouraged to limit power by adjusting their air conditioner to 78 degrees or higher, use appliances before 3 p.m., turning off lights and unplugging unused electrical devices.

“Consumers can actively help by shifting energy use to morning and nighttime hours,” said the Flex Alert announcement from CAISO. “Conservation can lower demand and avoid further actions, including outages, and lessen the duration of possible power interruptions. For example, consumer conservation efforts during a heat wave on Aug. 17 and 18 were key to preventing expected power outages.”

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