California ISO Declares a Stage 2 Emergency With Power Outages Expected Sunday September 6 2020.
The California Independent System Operator (ISO) declared a statewide Stage 2 Emergency at 5:55pm (pt) due to excessive heat driving up electricity use and putting strain on the grid.
Power Outage Caused Stage 2 Emergency
The ISO called the emergency after a transmission line carrying power from Oregon to California and another in-state power plant went offline unexpectedly.
The cause of the outages is unknown at this time.
Emergency Declaration Allows California to Use Reserves and Receive Assistance
The emergency declaration allows the grid operator to use reserve power and to tap into emergency assistance from neighboring balancing authorities.
During this emergency, if system conditions do not improve, the ISO may declare a Stage 3 Emergency, which will lead to rotating power outages.
Power Outages on Saturday September 5 2020 Were Avoided Due Consumer Conservation
Consumer conservation was credited with helping to avoid power outages yesterday, Saturday September 5 2020.
Extreme Heat and Wildfires Increased Energy Demand
Extreme heat coupled with wildfires are contributing to increased energy demand and reduced supplies. Grid operators are predicting a shortfall of as much as 4,000 megawatts (MW) in supply this late afternoon and evening.
Fires took out 1,600 MW of transmission resources yesterday. Approximately 500 MW of that was returned to service.
Today on Sunday September 6 2020, unexpected power plant outages due to the heat reduced supplies by another 625 MW.
Rotating Power Outages Are Likely Sunday Evening September 6 2020
Based on the current forecast and without significant conservation efforts, rotating power outages are likely throughout the state today between now and 9:00pm.
California Flex Alert Through Monday September 7 2020
The ISO also called a Flex Alert, a voluntary call to consumers to conserve electricity, from 3:00pm to 9:00pm today and tomorrow, Monday September 7 2020.
Consumers are urged during those times to set air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off unnecessary lights, and defer use of major appliances.
These conservation measures can help the power grid during a time of tight demand and supply.
Reduced energy use during a Flex Alert can prevent further emergency measures, including the incidence of rotating power outages.