SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California is scrambling to maintain control over the state’s power supply. Bouncing back and forth between flex alerts and emergencies, the California heat is slowly melting away the state’s power supply.
“Let me just make this crystal clear: we failed to predict and plan for these shortages,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday during a press conference, admitting the state was not prepared for the moment.
In an effort to mitigate the power demands, the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, has demanded utility companies cut power to customers over the past few days.
“When we hear from California ISO that we need to reduce the amount of demand on the system, we have about 10 minutes to shut off power to reduce the load,” PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo said.
If they can’t reduce the load fast enough, the state’s demand for power could exceed the supply.
“We had a power outage for an hour. It’s very frustrating,” Philip Maglaya, a frustrated PG&E customer living in Manteca, said.
Typically, California can take power from neighboring states like Arizona and Washington, but it’s hot there too, so they don’t have enough power to give. Another factor is the lack of renewable energy.
“When the cloud cover comes in, it actually reduces the solar output and then we see a tightening of the energy supplies even further,” Anee Gonzales, California ISO spokesperson, said.
A perfect storm leading to California’s power struggle. But some aren’t accepting heat as an excuse.
“Guess what? There’s a heat wave in California every single summer. This should not come as a surprise. That’s why you have planning. That’s why you run scenarios,” Mark Toney, director of the Utility Reform Network, said.
Tuesday’s forecasted peak demand is expected to break the all-time record set back in 2006. California ISO has warned there could be outages over the next several days.
The grid operator has issued a Flex Alert for 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday. Residents are urged to raise their thermostats to 78 degrees and to avoid using large appliances. California ISO credits the conservation of energy as a reason the state was able to avoid blackouts Monday.