SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Just hours after PG&E officials said they might have to initiate more rolling blackouts in the Bay Area affecting over 200,000 customers, the utility announced that California’s power grid had sufficient energy to meet demand.
Earlier Sunday evening, the utility announced that it might have to initiate blackouts in San Francisco, San Mateo and Contra Costa counties if asked by the ISO.
The utility posted an announcement that blackouts would not be necessary on its Twitter account.
California Grid Operator Confirms State’s Energy Supply Expected to Meet Demand Tonight as Heatwave Continues – No Rotating Power Outages Needed Tonight in PG&E Service Area – Customers Strongly Urged to Conserve Electricity through Wednesday Night https://t.co/rPwv6gfbAZ pic.twitter.com/5nQBRvv2rB
— PG&E (@PGE4Me) August 17, 2020
The ongoing heatwave making increased demands on California’s power grid is necessitating the blackouts, with PG&E strongly urging customers to conserve electricity through Wednesday evening.
The earlier announcement issued by the utility was based on current power usage forecasts. If the California Independent System Operator (ISO) instructs PG&E to move forward, the outages would have taken place in the early to late evening Sunday, impacting approximately 210,000 PG&E customers in portions of San Francisco, San Mateo and Contra Costa counties.
On Friday evening, the CAISO declared a statewide Stage 3 power emergency as excessive heat drove up electricity use and set temperature records across the Bay Area, forcing rolling blackouts across the state until the power grid stabilized.
A Stage 3 emergency means the state power grid is not meeting demand and rotating power outages may be necessary.
The heatwave has been just part of a wild weather story this weekend, with a rare thunderstorm early Sunday morning bringing window-rattling peals of thunder and lightning strikes that set off fires across the region.
The California ISO has ordered a statewide Flex Alert between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday due to the ongoing heat wave. If a Stage 3 emergencies is declared, Cal ISO will typically order the state’s utilities, including PG&E, to reduce electrical load by turning off service immediately, in order to avoid larger outages on the grid.
Due to the emergency nature of the outages, PG&E cannot give advance warning to customers. The utility noted that these outages ordered by the Cal ISO are not Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are called during specific high fire threat conditions. They are also not related to any issues with PG&E’s equipment.