With temperatures expected to spike to dangerous levels in some parts of the Bay Area through Labor Day weekend, PG&E is offering tips for customers to save energy and contribute to reduced grid demand between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. as hot weather indirectly increases the potential for blackouts.
Especially hot weather means residents will be turning on air conditioning in the late afternoon and when they return from work. This adds stress to the state power grid and, along with other energy use, could cause power outages.
For that reason, the California Independent System Operator, which manages electricity over the state’s high-voltage transmission lines, called Flex Alerts for both Wednesday and Thursday, asking residents to conserve energy especially between 4 p.m. And 9 p.m.
PG&E urges residential customers to avoid using large appliances such as dishwashers and washers and dryers between those hours. For businesses, shutting off computers at the end of the workday can have a big impact, PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian said.
“This is something that all Californians can help with,” Sarkissian said, noting that small contributions can make a big difference.
Businesses that want to help can turn off any office equipment not currently in use, use sleep or power saving modes when possible, and enable power management settings.
PG&E officials also encourage businesses to fully turn off printers and copiers at the end of the day and, if possible, turn them off at the power strip.
At home, Sarkissian also urges customers to turn off unnecessary lights, keep out the heat by closing shades on the sunny side of the home and set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher if health permits.
PG&E has programs that allow large businesses to save or earn money by changing their energy use. These programs are called demand response programs and more information can be found on PG&E’s website.
Programs for residential customers are also available under the residential tab and “Save Energy and Money” tab.
“We also urge our customers to stay safe during this extreme heat,” Sarkissian said.
Cooling centers set up by PG&E are available in some areas and cities and counties are also opening centers for residents.
Sarkissian said the California Independent System Operator is not planning any rolling blackouts Wednesday, and PG&E is not planning a public safety power shutoff.
The National Weather Service forecast for the greater Bay Area calls for warmer conditions as temperatures begin to climb through the holiday weekend. Daytime highs Wednesday were expected in the 60s along the coast, in the 70s and low 80s around the Bay and reaching low 90s in the interior areas of the East Bay. Overnight lows are expected in the high 50s to low 60s.
A gradual warming will occur through midweek with dangerously hot conditions expected over the holiday weekend, particularly across the region’s interior. An excessive heat watch has been extended one more day and will be in effect from 11 a.m. Saturday to 8 p.m. Tuesday for the entire Bay Area.