California's electric grid operator is asking residents to avoid using electricity as much as possible, including by keeping air conditioning low and not charging electric vehicles.
The California Independent System Operator issued Wednesday "a call for voluntary electricity conservation, for today, Aug. 31 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., due to high temperatures pushing up energy demand and tightening available power supplies."
The statement continues: "With excessive heat in the forecast across much of the state and Western U.S., the grid operator is expecting high electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use, and is calling for voluntary conservation steps to help balance supply and demand."
In order "to minimize discomfort and help with grid stability, consumers are also encouraged to pre-cool their homes and use major appliances and charge electric vehicles and electronic devices before 4 p.m., when conservation begins to become most critical."
Cornell University's College of Engineering notes that "most people charge their electric cars when they come home in the evening — when electricity demand is typically at its peak. If left unmanaged, the power demanded from many electric vehicles charging simultaneously in the evening will amplify existing peak loads, potentially outstripping the grid's current capacity to meet demand."
CAISO officials previously warned that "If weather or grid conditions worsen, the ISO may issue a series of emergency notifications to access additional resources and prepare market participants and the public for potential energy shortages and the need to conserve. The power grid operator expects to call on Californians for voluntary energy conservation via Flex Alerts over the long weekend."
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