California keeps lights on Wednesday after residents strongly urged to cut back on energy use

The call for conservation between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday came as much of the state faced another day of extreme heat.

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Thursday, September 8, 2022
CA issues Energy Emergency Alert 2; residents urged to conserve energy
Californians were asked Wednesday to conserve electricity to avoid rolling blackouts amid the heat wave.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- California avoided rolling outages during extreme heat Wednesday, as operators of the state's electricity grid continued to warn that unprecedented demand on energy supplies could force them to periodically cut power to some customers.

The California Independent System Operator thanked California residents and businesses for heeding another Flex Alert, a request to reduce electricity consumption during peak evening hours.

"With your help, we made it through another day without rotating #poweroutages," Cal ISO said on Twitter after the alert expired at 9 p.m.

Cal ISO also issued an Energy Emergency Alert 2 Wednesday, which requests emergency energy from all of its resources and activates its emergency demand response program.

Gov. Gavin Newsom for the first time triggered a wireless emergency alert system at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday that sent messages to 27 million cellphones urging them to turn off or reduce non-essential power.

California snapped its record energy use around 5 p.m. Tuesday with 52,061 megawatts, far above the previous high of 50,270 megawatts set July 24, 2006.

A graphic from Cal ISO shows how power usage dropped following the alert. Officials said consumer conservation played a major role in protecting the power grid.

"Had it not been for the efforts of, literally, millions of Californians, just to turn down a light or turn down a thermometer and not use a large appliance, we would not be in the position we are today," said Newsom during a press conference in Beverly Hills on Wednesday.

The governor, however, did express concern when it comes to over-using the message system.

"The challenge is ... if you overuse that, it begins to dilute itself,'' he said. "I'm hoping we don't have to do that again. If we do do that again, please take it seriously. We don't do that lightly."

The excessive heat warning in Southern California remains in place through Thursday night, but meteorologists are keeping a close eye on rain. By the weekend, the region may feel like the tropics as a storm passes by off the coast, dumping heavy rain in some areas while keeping temperatures still quite warm. Areas that don't see rain will still feel fairly humid.

Before then, residents are being asked to be mindful of energy use and look out for the most vulnerable members of the community, including the elderly and the homeless.

L.A. County has a full list of cooling centers, which include senior and recreational centers.

For the full list, visit the L.A. County's website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.