Governor Newsom’s Update on Extreme Heat and Grid Reliability

Yesterday, California and the West experienced extreme heat, driving with temperatures across the state 10 to 20 degrees hotter than normal. This kind of weather drives up energy demand, straining power generation equipment as people run their air conditioning. Since yesterday, two new fires have started that threaten transmission lines that supply power to millions of homes.

Thanks to the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation and efforts made by large energy users, energy producers and California residents, the state avoided power outages. These savings were critical to yesterday’s success, but extreme heat continues to grip the state. With triple-digit temperatures in much of California and the West, the power grid operator is again expecting high electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use, and needs voluntary conservation steps to help balance supply and demand.

Cal ISO has called for another Flex Alert today, encouraging Californians to pre-cool their homes before 4 PM, then turn up thermostats to 78 degrees and avoid using major appliances from 4 – 9 PM.

Additional details on state actions to maintain grid reliability and keep the lights on:

Department of Water Resources: 

  • DWR’s State Water Project (SWP) is maximizing electrical generation from our hydropower plants during this extreme heat wave. Yesterday, DWR provided approximately 500 MW of clean hydropower to the grid.

  • As the largest energy user in the state, the SWP is also reducing energy consumption by minimizing pumping operation during peak hours instead moving water across the state at night when energy demand is lower.

  • The Route Fire near Castaic briefly shut down transmission lines for the William Warne Powerplant; however, the lines were reenergized this morning and the plant is back online and delivering power to the grid.

  • The four emergency generators that can contribute 120 MW to the state’s Strategic Power Reserve are online and ready to be utilized if demand exceeds supply. Footage of the generators can be found here.

California Volunteers: 

  • Californians are also encouraged to check on their neighbors – call or visit vulnerable people, and offer to pick up groceries, medication, and other necessities. Older adults, young children and babies, people with chronic medical conditions and those who are pregnant are most vulnerable.

  • Call 2-1-1 to find a local cooling center, for non-emergency help and for questions, or 9-1-1 for heat-related illness. Or go online for a map of cooling centers near you.

Public Utilities Commission: 

  • Demand Response allows customers to lessen demand on the grid by reducing their electricity use during key times of the day and get compensated for it.

  • Demand Response programs are available for residential, commercial, and industrial customers, and include the Emergency Load Reduction Program for non-residential customers and the Power Saver Rewards Program and Smart Energy Program for residential customers.

Government Operations: 

  • DGS is ensuring state buildings reduce electricity usage including increasing thermostat temperatures and closing blinds.

  • DGS is promoting enrollment in energy conservation programs that enable more strategic management of the state’s electrical grid and has reminded all employees to conserve.

Health and Human Services: 

  • CalHHS is providing public awareness information to Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated, and Stay Informed and Connected.
  • CalHHS is providing guidance to licensed health care facilities and nursing homes, supporting state hospitals and other state facilities, and promoting check-ins by local programs serving homeless and at-risk adults.

Labor Workforce & Development: 

  • Employers are required to prevent heat illness in their employees, by providing outdoor workers with fresh water, access to shade at 80 degrees and whenever requested by a worker, cool-down rest breaks in addition to regular breaks, and maintaining a written prevention plan.