Heat wave prompts ‘Flex Alert’ to conserve electricity

Sizzling temperatures in Friday’s forecast prompted the California Independent System Operator to issue a statewide Flex Alert, calling for residents to conserve electricity between 3 and 10 p.m.

Much of the Bay Area and Monterey Bay region will face excessive heat on Friday and Saturday due to a high-pressure system from the southwest, according to the National Weather Service. The heat wave is affecting California and the southwest. In the Bay Area, it is expected to ease up on Sunday, only to return early next week.

An increase in electric demand is predicted, mostly due to residential air conditioning, which sparked the statewide Flex Alert on Friday.

Residents are urged to conserve electricity, especially during the late afternoon and early evening, when the grid is most stressed. Consumers are urged to set air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off unnecessary lights, and use major appliances before 3 p.m. and after 10 p.m.


WHAT IS A FLEX ALERT?

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A Flex Alert is a call for consumers to voluntarily conserve electricity when there is a predicted shortage of energy supply, especially if the grid operator needs to dip into reserves to cover demand. When consumers reduce electricity use at critical times, it can prevent more dire emergency measures, including possible power outages.

WHO ISSUES A FLEX ALERT?

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A Flex Alert is issued by the California Independent System Operator (ISO), a nonprofit, public benefit corporation that manages the high-voltage electric grid for 80 percent of California. Click here to learn more about the California ISO.

WHAT CAN TRIGGER A FLEX ALERT?

A Flex Alert is typically issued in the summer when extremely hot weather pushes up electricity demand. This usually happens in the evening hours when solar generation is going offline and consumers are returning home and switching on air conditioners, lights, and appliances.

Other contributing factors include:

  • Unplanned power plant outages
  • Fires that lead to transmission line losses
  • Humid, hot weather and heat storms

WHEN IS A FLEX ALERT ISSUED?

Flex Alerts are most effective when issued a day in advance of the predicted supply gap, so consumers can better prepare for the event. But grid emergencies can also happen suddenly, so the ISO can issue a Flex Alert will little or no advance notice. When possible, Flex Alerts are targeted to local areas where the system is stressed.

HOW ARE CONSUMERS NOTIFIED?

Flex Alerts are distributed through the ISO Today mobile app, and promoted on the ISO website at www.caiso.com, on Twitter and Facebook. Consumers can also subscribe to receive Flex Alert notifications either by email or cell phone text. The ISO also notifies media outlets throughout the state when a Flex Alert is issued.

Learn more about Flex Alerts: www.flexalert.org

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