Heat wave prompts California flex alert, call for energy conservation

Amid a heat wave that could push temperatures to 110 degrees in some areas of California, power grid officials issued a statewide Flex Alert for Wednesday.

The alert, which is a call for voluntary electricity conservation, will be in effect from 4 pm to 9 pm, officials with the California Independent System Operator said Tuesday evening.

“With above-normal temperatures in the forecast across much of the state tomorrow, the power grid operator is expecting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use, and is calling for voluntary conservation steps to help balance supply and demand,” according to the grid operator’s statement.

Customers are asked to conserve electricity, especially during the late afternoon and early evening when the grid is under the highest stress, officials said.

Reducing power demand during a Flex Alert is meant to prevent further emergency measures, including power outages.

Officials suggested that customers pre-cool their homes before 4 pm by setting thermostats to as low as 72 degrees; use major appliances such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, ovens and stoves before the alert goes into effect; and adjust blinds and drapes to cover windows.

During the hours of the alert, customers should set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher if their health permits, avoid using major appliances and turn off all unnecessary lights.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service warned of high temperatures across the state, including the Southland, this week.

San Bernardino and Riverside counties are under a heat advisory that began Monday afternoon and ends at 8 pm Wednesday, the weather service said. High temperatures in those regions are expected to reach 104 degrees.

The weather service also has an excessive heat watch in effect beginning Tuesday through Friday for much of the San Joaquin Valley, where temperatures could reach 108 degrees.

Much of inland Northern California was also under an excessive heat watch Tuesday, when National Weather Service officials said temperatures could reach “record or near record” highs up to 105 degrees.

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