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Extreme weather: California ISO Flex Alert declared, conservation up

August 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Due to the extreme heat, the California ISO declared a Flex Alert for Friday through Sunday, urging residents to reduce energy use.

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As of 4 p.m. Thursday, there were no major power outages in Southern California. This came as the California ISO confirmed that a dip in power usage was observed in the afternoon. They say putting out the word to conserve energy early in the day likely helped. But concerns persist about soaring temperatures putting stress on the power grid as Southland residents crank up their air conditioners over the next few days.

Southern California Edison canceled planned power outages that were meant for maintenance purposes Thursday so that those same crews could respond to potential emergencies.

Residents are urged to reduce energy use during the afternoon when air conditioners drive consumption. Officials say conservation on Thursday would also be helpful from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"What happens is heat builds up in homes, and it gets hotter and hotter so that takes more air conditioning to cool," said Lynda Ziegler with Southern California Edison. "So as you go three or four days, loads go up and that's why we really want people to conserve, because that gives the equipment a chance to cool off and it keeps the load down."

Southern California Edison advises customers to set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees and to use the fan instead of air conditioning when practical.

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Other conservation tips:
- Turn off unused appliances
- Shut off lights when leaving a room
- Close drapes and blinds to keep the sun out
- Use appliances during early morning and evening hours
- Limit the opening of refrigerators

For more Flex Alert tips, visit www.caiso.com.

Southern California Edison also has a program set up called Save Power Days. People can sign up online and receive alerts for especially high usage days. If usage is cut from the previous three days, up to 75 cents a kilowatt is put back on the electric bill.

See hours of operation for Pasadena libraries, pools and cooling centers

The heat wave is expected to peak on Thursday and Friday. An excessive heat warning remains in effect in the Inland Empire and Valleys, as temperatures are expected to reach well into the triple digits in many areas.

An excessive heat warning means that a prolonged period of hot temperatures is expected. Residents are advised to drink a lot of fluids, stay in cool indoor places and out of the sun, if possible. Authorities also remind people that children and pets should not be left unattended in the sun or in cars with the windows up, even for a short period of time.

In the event you can't avoid being in the sun, health officials say remember to wear sun block, get plenty of shade and keep hydrated. Officials also advise keeping an eye on elderly neighbors and children.

Cooling centers have been set up throughout Southern California, and Southern California Edison also has sites established throughout the state.

In the city of Fontana, there are five cooling centers to help its residents stay cool. Every cooling station is setup the same way: They're all located in well air-conditioned buildings with seating areas and plenty of water.

Find a cooling center in your area

Officials announced extended hours at cooling centers in Los Angeles. The following places will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Thursday, Aug. 9 to Saturday, Aug. 11:

- North Hollywood Senior Citizen Center, 11430 Chandler Boulevard, North Hollywood
- Sepulveda Recreation Center/Mid-Valley Senior Citizen Center, 8801Kester Avenue, Panorama City
- Sunland Park Senior Citizen Center, 8640 Fenwick Street, Sunland
- Sylmar Recreation Center, 13109 Borden Avenue, Sylmar
- East Valley Multi Purpose Center, 5040 Van Nuys Boulevard, Sherman Oaks
- Canoga Park Senior Citizen Center, 7326 Jordan Avenue, Canoga Park

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