California Avoids Blackouts for Now, but Heat is Relentless

September 7, 2022

California electric customers pitched in to avoid crisis. In coming years, solar and battery deployment will catch up, but for now, a pinch.


California has avoided ordering rolling blackouts after electricity demand reached a record-high Tuesday night from excessive heat across the state. 

The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state’s electrical grid, imposed its highest level energy emergency on Tuesday, a step that comes before ordering rolling blackouts and allows the state to access emergency power sources.

The Office of Emergency Services also sent a text alert to residents requesting them to conserve power. The operator downgraded the Stage 3 alert around 8:00 p.m. PT on Tuesday and said that “consumer conservation played a big part in protecting electric grid reliability.”

The state capital of Sacramento reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service, surpassing a record that was set almost 100 years ago. And nearly a half-dozen cities in the San Francisco Bay Area tied or set all-time highs, the agency said.

CAISO said peak power demand on Tuesday reached 52,061 megawatts, surpassing a previous high of 50,270 megawatts on July 24, 2006.

While the operator did not order rolling blackouts, three Northern California cities saw brief power outages. As of 7:00 am PT on Wednesday, nearly 8,000 customers in California were without power, according to 

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a Twitter video on Tuesday, warned the temperatures across California were unprecedented and the state is headed into the worst part of the heat wave, which is on track to be the hottest and longest on record for September.

“The risk for outages is real and it’s immediate,” Newsom said. “These triple-digit temperatures throughout much of the state are leading, not surprisingly, to record demand on the energy grid.”


One Response to “California Avoids Blackouts for Now, but Heat is Relentless”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I heard someone say that when the alert came out “I turned off a few lights” and my first reaction was “why would you have lights on that you aren’t using?”. So many people have to adapt their mindsets for the new reality.

    I lived through the 1970s energy crisis, so now I feel like the old people I knew when growing up whose attitudes toward spending and waste were established during the Great Depression (“Kids these days!”).

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