EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) — Another hot weekend is in store for the greater Sacramento region, and extreme heat yet again poses a threat to the power grid.
It was only a few weeks ago parts of Northern California, including El Dorado Hills, saw rolling blackouts. Those blackouts caused frustration for locals and is now something state agencies hope to avoid with another flex alert starting Saturday.
The California Office of Emergency Services said they learned some important lessons from the last heat wave. As parts of the state saw rolling blackouts, Gov.Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation to ease the strain on the grid. People and businesses were granted permission to use generators that are normally outlawed under air quality standards, and Navy ships were allowed out of their ports to conserve power.
On Thursday, the governor issued a similar proclamation, adding one component which allows power plants the ability to generate more power.
“They can run those plants at a higher level,” said Bill Powers, an engineering expert from San Diego. “These could be standard utility-scale generation plants that are pushed a little harder than their output limit on their permits.”
Sacramento State Professor James Mearns witnessed August’s blackouts for himself at his El Dorado Hills home and weighed in on how this process would work.
“Once we’re at the bottom end, we’ll typically have some supplemental heat energy they can put into a machine that allows them to get more electrical energy out,” Mearns said.
Utility companies like PG&E say doing this will make a difference across the state.
“It will benefit all of the state investor-owned utilities and customers. While we can’t provide specifics, this will help all,” Brandi Merlo, a PG&E spokesperson said.
While the state and its power grid work in overdrive, others like Jann Tabor are hoping to beat the heat elsewhere by heading north.
“It’s probably still going to be hot up there, so I’m hoping we can stay cool and find some shade,” Tabor said.
Though when she’s home, she says she does her part.
“I don’t run my dishwasher, washer dryer, cook in the oven during that time,” she said.
Now she hopes other Californians will do their part as well.
CBS13 reached out to the governor’s press office regarding the proclamation, and to ask why this type of help wasn’t provided at the start of last month’s heat wave. His office never responded to our requests.