An SDG&E crew works on a power pole. Photo courtesy of the company

High temperatures increased electricity demand while a power plant was down and wind power fell short Saturday night, prompting a Stage 3 Electrical Emergency that lasted 20 minutes.

The Stage 3 Electrical Emergency was called at 6:28 p.m., making rolling outages imminent or in progress, according to the California Independent System Operator.

“The load was ordered back online 20 minutes later at 6:48 p.m., as wind resources increased,” the ISO explained.

“Extreme heat throughout the West has increased electricity usage, causing a strain on the power grid. All available resources are needed to meet the growing demand,” the ISO said.

San Diego Gas & Electric had announced rolling rolling blackouts through 11:59 p.m., but they apparently did not go into effect.

Under a Stage 2 Electrical Emergency, the ISO has done all it can to mitigate shortages and must intervene in the market to meet energy requirements, including ordering power plants online, according to the ISO’s website.

A Stage 1 Electrical Emergency signals a “strong need for conservation,” the ISO said.

“Although a Stage 3 Emergency is a significant inconvenience to those affected by rotating power interruptions, it is preferable to manage an emergency with controlled measures rather than let it cause widespread and more prolonged disruption,” the ISO noted in a statement.

Cal-ISO offered a series of tips, including:

  • Turning off unnecessary lights
  • Using major appliances before 3 p.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • Setting air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher
  • Using fans
  • Keeping drapes drawn

According to CAL-ISO, the state’s available capacity for Saturday was hovering at a little above 50,000 megawatts, with peak demand expected to be 46,372 megawatts.

Updated at 8:56 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020

–City News Service

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