Rotating blackouts averted Tuesday, but utility urges residents to keep conserving energy

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SAN DIEGO – Rolling blackouts again were avoided Tuesday throughout California with state and local power operators applauding residents for doing their parts to conserve energy.

Coming into the day, the California Independent System Operator warned that homes and businesses potentially could be impacted by outages. It lifted its Flex Alert after 8 p.m., but another is in place Wednesday from 3 to 10 p.m.

San Diegans potentially could avoid shutoffs again Wednesday through further conservation efforts, SDGE spokeswoman Jessica Packard said.

“As you can imagine, the grid conditions are very dynamic and fluid right now,” Packard said. “SDG&E is waiting on word from CAISO. Sometimes we get very short notice on if any rotating outages are going to happen.”

The utility recommends turning off lights when they’re not in use, avoiding using major appliances until the weekend and being mindful of usage of necessary appliances such as air conditioning units.

If outages do take place, the utility expects they would last no longer than an hour, Packard said.

“Luckily, we are dealing with very unusual circumstances that don’t happen often,” she said. “Last time this happened was 2001, so hopefully this will be a good lesson learned so it doesn’t happen again and it instills good energy conservation skills in all of us.”

As far as what locations get selected for outages when the time comes, SDG&E says it’s not always a simple answer.

“It’s very much based on load,” she said. “That’s determined by where they can make the biggest impact right away. We are avoiding those high fire district areas that are prone to the public safety power shut off’s, because they are in areas that have experienced outages in the past.”

SDG&E says they are also trying to avoid areas with hospitals or medical facilities especially right now during the pandemic.

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