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PG&E Warns Flex Alert May Trigger Sudden 1-2 Hour Outages

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Sonora, CA – The Mother Lode’s electrical power utility is warning that emergency power outages are locally possible between 3 and 10 p.m. due to the excessive heatwave.

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) officials say that based on current energy supply forecasts and a statewide Flex Alert in place for the abovementioned seven-hour period through Thursday, the rotating power outages are likely, and they are urging customers to conserve electricity. Outages are estimated to last one to two hours.

Extreme heat is forecasted to last at least through the middle of this week. Prolonged heat through Thursday is expected to drive electricity demand higher, as nighttime temperatures are also forecast to be above average.

The California Independent System Operators (CAISO), which manages the state’s power grid, calls for such rotating outages or Stage 3 Emergencies when the system is unable to meet minimum contingency reserve requirements and load interruption is imminent or in progress.

When these emergencies are declared by the CAISO, it typically orders the state’s utilities to reduce the electric load by turning off service immediately to prevent larger outages. PG&E, which has activated its emergency center in response to the CAISO Flex Alert, stresses that due to the emergency nature of these outages, utilities will not be able to give advance warning to customers.

They add that the outages are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), which are called during specific high fire-threat conditions; nor are the outages related to any issues with PG&E’s equipment or its ability to deliver energy locally.

PG&E strongly urges customers to reduce electricity use during the Flex Alert, especially during the afternoon and evening, when air conditioners are typically at peak use.

Customers are advised to raise their thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when home and to 85 degrees or turn off your cooling system when not at home; use a ceiling fan; turn off fans and lights when not using them; use shade coverings on windows; avoid using the oven; limit times you open refrigerators, and use washing machines and dishwashers after 10 p.m.

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