FREMONT (KPIX 5) — As of early Friday evening, California’s energy grid was standing up to the unprecedented demand from a day that shattered temperature records across the region.
“We haven’t declared any emergencies,” said Cal ISO spokesman Steven Greenlee.
However, Greenlee was quick to add that could change in an instant. The changing demand over the next few hours of the evening will be crucial as people arrive home from work and turn on devices, appliances and air conditioners.
A flex alert declared earlier Friday which recommended that people to voluntarily cut back on consumption was showing results.
“Probably what we are seeing now are the effects of the flex alert kicking in,” said Greenlee.
If demand increases beyond supply, emergency measures could include rolling blackouts, which the state has not seen in years.
Greenlee said they were unlikely to order rolling blackouts. However, minor dips in voltage were a possibility.
“What we see in low-voltage events is that the lights will get a little dimmer. That’s why they are often called brownouts,” explained Greenlee.
PG&E started reporting some power outages at around 12:30 p.m. Friday
As of about 5:30 p.m., PG&E Bay Area customer outage totals during the heat wave were steadily climbing to just under 5,200 affected across the region with most of the outages in the East Bay.
PG&E Crews were working safely to restore power to the customers in the following areas:
• South Bay: 1,299
• East Bay: 3,182
• North Bay: 173
• San Francisco: 175
• Peninsula: 351
Bay Area Total: 5,180
With the Bay Area gripped by excessive heat Friday, PG&E also made plans to deal with the increased demand on the power grid.
The PG&E supply yard in Fremont was stocked with hundreds of replacement transformers in addition to increasing the number of available workers to staff crews.
If power goes out as temperatures go up, utility officials say they are ready.
“We just start getting material together and getting it on trucks and taking it out to where it is needed,” said PG&E Superintendent Clint West.
PG&E said it has enough electricity supply to meet demand, but is expecting to see some transformer failure.
“As hot as it is outside and the temperatures dont really drop enough at nighttime. They dont have a chance to cool down and they fail,” PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian.
PG&E crews are stationed in the far East Bay, South Bay and North Bay where outages are expected.
“Our meteorology team has been tracking this heat event for quite a while. What they do is use technology which helps them pinpoint the areas where we anticipate there may be outages,” said Sarkissian.