Record temperatures during the day turned into rotating power outages for hundreds of thousands across the Bay Area Friday night.
The outages were expected to last until at least 11 p.m, and for about an hour per impacted neighborhood, according to a PG&E tweet. The Stage 3 Electrical Emergency was declared because of increased electricity demand due to the high heat and was expected to impact between 200,000 and 250,000 customers, according to PG&E.
The company said in a release Friday night that because the outages were an “emergency, PG&E will be unable to notify customers in advance of the power shutoffs, which could occur anywhere within PG&E’s service area.”
Given Strain on Power Grid During Excessive Heat, PG&E Begins Rotating Power Outages at Direction of State Grid Operator- Outages Expected to Affect Approximately 200-250k Customers in Rotations of About One Hour Each – PG&E Is Not Calling A PSPS https://t.co/T6zB9U4pX2 pic.twitter.com/1JCCo5dO7f
— PG&E (@PGE4Me) August 15, 2020
With temperatures soaring into the triple digits in most of the region during the day, PG&E warned customers to conserve electricity to avoid disruptions of power. But around 7 p.m., the lights began to go out in many neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area.
PG&E announced on its web site that “The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has asked customers to conserve power Friday until 11 p.m. PG&E has begun turning off power in rotating outages at CAISO’s direction. This is not a Public Safety Power Shutoff. Approximately 200,000 to 250,000 customers are impacted.”
There was no word if the outages will continue through the weekend. Most forecasts call for the heat wave to blister the region until early next week.
California’s Independent System Operator, which oversees the state grid, called for a flex alert Friday. The alert serves as a warning for customers to conserve electricity when air conditioners are at peak use. Customers are encouraged to keep their thermostat at 78 degrees, to draw their drapes and to turn off unnecessary lighting. Phone chargers, power strips and other electrical devices should be unplugged when not in use, the utility company said.
The ISO also declared a statewide stage 2 emergency, and warned if system conditions do not improve, it will declare a stage 3 emergency, which will lead to rotating power outages.
Please check back for updates.
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Author: Laurence Miedema