As Extreme Heat Pushes Electricity Demand Higher Across the West, State’s Grid Operator Directs Utilities to Prepare for Potential Rotating Power Outages
The California Independent System Operator
Continues to Monitor Electricity Demand and Will Determine Whether
Rotating Outages Are Needed
PG&E Urges Customers to Continue to
Conserve Power Through 9 p.m. Today
With high temperatures continuing across California and the
West, the state’s grid operator has directed utilities including
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to prepare for possible
rotating power outages due to the potential for electricity supply
on the larger Western region grid to fall short of the increased
Rotating outages are a series of controlled outages that would
affect customers for 1-2 hours. Rotating outages would relieve
stress on the grid to help prevent more widespread power
To help avert rotating outages, the California Independent
System Operator (CAISO) and California utilities are strongly
urging customers to continue conserving power during today’s Flex
Alert until 9 p.m. tonight.
As of 2 p.m., the CAISO has not asked utilities, including
PG&E, to implement rotating outages. However, out of an
abundance of caution, PG&E has given advanced notification to
approximately 525,277 customers to prepare for potential rotating
outages this evening in case they need to take place. The CAISO
supports utilities notifying their customers of potential power
outages so that customers can be ready.
If electricity demand conditions do not improve, CAISO could
direct PG&E and other utilities to begin rotating outages.
CAISO oversees the larger power grid and balances energy demand
For purposes of rotating outages, PG&E’s service area is
divided into areas called blocks. Each block is made up of several
neighborhoods. Customers can visit www.pge.com/rotatingoutages or
check their printed bill for details and to check if their outage
block may be affected.
PG&E is Preparing for Heat Related Outages
Widespread heat events pose unique challenges to the state’s
energy grid. In addition to the energy supply concerns driving Flex
Alerts, sustained high temperatures have the potential to damage
electrical equipment, leading to local outages. PG&E has
activated its Emergency Operations Center and is mobilizing the
necessary personnel and materials to be able to restore power
safely and efficiently.
Heat-related equipment outages can occur during periods of
sustained high temperatures. Transformers, which distribute power
to homes and businesses, need a period of time when they can cool
down, which usually happens overnight when energy usage and
temperatures drop. Heat events with sustained high overnight
temperatures can put stress on transformers, causing them to fail.
This is more likely to occur in area where coastal influence
normally results in lower evening temperatures, rather than in
interior valleys that routine experience extremely hot weather.
PG&E uses outage prediction models to help determine when
and where potential power outage risk could be elevated and uses
the latest technology to help restore power more quickly and
efficiently during a heat wave. This includes automated equipment
that “self-heals” the grid, as well as timely and accurate outage
data from its SmartMeter network.
PG&E is positioning crews in areas with higher potential for
heat-related outages, including coastal areas that don’t normally
experience sustained hot weather. PG&E has troublemen, who are
the company’s first responders to an outage, and electric
restoration crews working across the service area ready to respond
and restore power safely and as quickly as possible in an outage.
Additional troublemen and crews are on standby, and PG&E will
increase staffing in response to the ongoing heat wave as needed.
PG&E is mobilizing necessary materials to be able to restore
power safely and efficiently.
How Customers Can Reduce Energy Right Now
Here are ways for PG&E customers to reduce stress on
statewide power supply:
Today, during the Flex Alert from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.:
- Set thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health
permitting: Every degree above 78 represents an appropriately
2% savings on cooling costs.
- When it’s cooler outside, bring the cool air in: If the
outside air is cool during the night or early morning, open windows
and doors and use fans to cool your home.
- Avoid using major appliances.
- Turn off all unnecessary lights.
- Avoid charging electric vehicles.
How Customers Can Prepare for Potential Power Outages
- Have a flashlight, radios, and fresh batteries ready.
For more information on how to prepare for an emergency, visit
PG&E’s Safety Action Center.
- Use cooling centers to stay cool or during a power
outage. Check with your city or county, or the Governor’s
Office of Emergency Services list and map of cooling centers
- Operate personal generators safely. Follow the owner’s
manual and perform a visual inspection before starting or operating
a generator. When setting up a generator, place it on a flat,
stable surface to reduce the likelihood of it tipping over. To
prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never operate an engine-powered
generator in an enclosed space or inside a house or a tent.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E
Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric
utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square
miles in Northern and Central California. For more information,
visit pge.com and pge.com/news.
version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220906006097/en/
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