South San Francisco, CA August 16, 2020 Submitted by PGE
As Statewide Heatwave Continues, California’s Grid Operator Will Likely Direct PG&E to Initiate Rotating Power Outages Tonight
Outages Expected to Affect Approximately 210,000 Customers in portions of San Francisco, San Mateo and Contra Costa Counties
Customers Strongly Urged to Conserve Electricity through Wednesday Night
PG&E Is Not Calling A Public Safety Power Shutoff
Based on current power usage forecasts, it is likely that the state’s electric grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), will direct PG&E to conduct rotating power outages in the early to late evening Sunday.
Expected impacts of Sunday outages
Should the CAISO direct PG&E to move forward, the outages are expected to affect approximately 210,000 PG&E customers in portions of San Francisco, San Mateo and Contra Costa counties. No customers should be impacted overnight.
Outages are estimated to last one to two hours. PG&E’s Emergency Operations Center is activated and working closely with the CAISO to support this event.
Reason for rotating outages
Rotating outages (Stage 3 Emergencies) become necessary when the CAISO is unable to meet minimum contingency reserve requirements and load interruption is imminent or in progress. These emergencies are declared by the CAISO. During these emergencies, the CAISO will typically order the state’s utilities, including PG&E, to reduce electrical load by turning off service immediately, in order to prevent larger outages on the grid. Due to the emergency nature of these outages, utilities will not be able to give advance warning to customers.
These outages are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are called during specific high fire threat conditions, and they are not related to any issues with PG&E’s equipment or its ability to deliver energy locally.
PG&E tips to save energy and reduce usage
PG&E strongly urges all customers to conserve energy through next Wednesday.
- Raise the thermostat: Cool homes and use air conditioners more during morning hours. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees when at home during the rest of the day, health permitting. Turn it up to 85 degrees or turn it off when not at home.
- Use a ceiling fan: Turn on a ceiling fan when using the air conditioner, which will allow the thermostat to be raised about 4 degrees to save on cooling costs with no reduction in comfort. Turn off fans and lights when you leave the room.
- Cover windows: Use shade coverings and awnings so the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool the home.
- Avoid using the oven: Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside.
- Limit the opening of refrigerators, which are major users of electricity in most homes. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day.
- Clean clothes and dishes early: Use large energy-consuming appliances like washing machines and dishwashers earlier in the day or late at night after 10:00 pm.
PG&E tips to stay safe and cool
- Plan ahead: Check the weather forecast to prepare for hot days.
- Keep an emergency contact list: Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
- Have a buddy system: Check in on elderly or people with access and function needs.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, even when you are not thirsty.
- Stay cool: Take a cool shower or bath and wear lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing.
- Stay safe: Stay out of direct sunlight and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com