SAN DIEGO – A record demand is hitting the California power grid, resulting in eight consecutive days of Flex Alerts from the California Independent System Operator, as well as an emergency alert sent to all residents.
On Tuesday afternoon, California ISO issued a Level 3 alert, the highest possible, meaning that rotating outages could happen if energy reductions were not made. This comes on the seventh consecutive day that Flex Alerts were issued in the state from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
California ISO said the power grid narrowly prevented outages Monday and anticipated record-breaking strain on the power grid on Tuesday, which is exactly what happened.
On Tuesday, the state’s grid reached a record-high level of demand at 52,061 megawatts — this level is higher than 2020, which saw rolling outages.
Just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, phones across the Golden State went off with emergency alert sounds and a message from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, that read, “CalOES, Conserve energy now to protect public health and safety. Extreme heat is straining the state energy grid. Power interruptions may occur unless you take action. Turn off or reduce nonessential power if health allows, now until 9 pm.”
The flex alert times are set between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. due to high energy demand and less wind and solar power available.
“If the demand outstrips the ability of our state and the states around us to be able to supply, then rolling outages are required to maintain the reliability, not just here in San Diego but across the whole state and quite frankly across the whole west, this is beyond a statewide event at this point,” Kevin Geraghty, COO of SDG&E said in an interview Tuesday.
Despite the good news in terms of the emergency alert, heat warnings have been extended to Friday and Governor Gavin Newsom is still asking everyone to scale back on their power use.
“Simply unprecedented temperatures, in fact, this heat wave is on track to be the hottest and the longest on record,” said Gov. Newsom Tuesday.
But how much can a dishwasher really impact the power grid? We wanted to find out.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using a dishwasher for one hour uses more than 300 watts. If every single household in California used their dishwasher at the same time, it would use 4,263 megawatts. Not using the dishwashers saves about 8% of the power grid.
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