Flex Alert in place Monday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. – The San Diego Union-Tribune
With temperatures across the West still hot and a wildfire in southern Oregon threatening the reliability of a major transmission line, California’s grid operator has issued a statewide Flex Alert from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday.
Called when demand for power may outstrip supply, a Flex Alert is issued by the California Independent System Operator and requests utility customers to voluntarily conserve energy because of expected stress on the system.
“Conservation is key to reducing stress on the grid during these peak hours,” the system operator, known as the CAISO for short, said in a news release.
Measures that consumers can take to reduce electricity use include precooling their homes before the 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. time period; avoid running appliances such as dishwashers, washers and dryers; closing drapes to keep rooms cool; and setting your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, if your health permits.
After a scorching weekend that saw temperatures across California exceed 100 degrees, the National Weather Service expects cooler, more seasonal temperatures statewide for the rest of this week. However, a wildfire that ignited July 9 in Oregon called the Bootleg Fire in Klamath County tripped a major transmission line called the California-Oregon Intertie that carries imported electricity from the Pacific Northwest into California.
Power supplies on the line have been reduced by about 3,500 megawatts because of the fire, the CAISO reported Sunday.
For perspective, the forecasted peak Monday for the CAISO, which manages the grid for about 80 percent of California and a small part of Nevada, is just under 40,000 megawatts.
An associated direct-current, or DC, line that feeds into Southern California was saw reduced capacity over the weekend.
By early Monday morning, the Bootleg Fire had burned 153,535 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The CAISO had also issued Flex Alerts last Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and officials with the grid operator credited the response from consumers to help the CAISO avoid resorting to rotating power outages to keep the electricity system stable.
“We have been using every tool at our disposal to keep the lights on and the people of California really are an indispensable partner in these efforts,” CAISO president and CEO Elliot Mainzer said in a briefing with reporters Saturday. “I know we’re asking a lot of folks but I really have been impressed to see people respond whenever they’ve been asked to conserve.”
The CAISO also issued Flex Alerts on June 17 and 18 when a severe heat wave enveloped most of California.
Monday’s Flex Alert is the fifth Flex Alert issued this year, equaling the number of Flex Alerts for all of 2020.