SAN JOSE (KPIX) — The state’s energy supply is in “good shape” for now, but hotter temperatures and an extensive heat wave could result in flex alerts or planned rotating power outages, a spokesperson for the California Independent System Operator said Monday.
“We are going to be leaning on California consumers, and that will come in the form of a Flex Alert,” said Cal ISO spokesperson Anne Gonzales. “Californians have historically responded very well to our calls for help.”READ MORE: Heat Wave To Bake Bay Area, California With Some Temps Reaching Triple Digits
A heat wave this week in parts of the state is being monitored daily by the agency. If a Flex Alert is called, Californians will be asked to conserve energy — especially reducing the use of large electrical appliances — between the hours of 4 and 9 p.m. That is when the strain on the power grid is expected, typically caused by an increase in the use of air conditioners.
Ginny Kocker who lives in San Jose, said she’ll never forget the rotating PG&E power outages in 2019, which were called to reduce the risk of wildfires.
“It was very uncomfortable, it was a heat wave so, of course, it was very hot,” Kocher said.
She said she and her husband lost power for two days, which set off their home’s alarms. Kocher said her husband climbed a ladder in their garage to try and turn off one of the alarms and ended up falling and breaking his femur.
“So that was hard on us,” said Kocher. “On top of the power outage, he went to the hospital.”
Now she and other Californians are bracing for the potential of rotating outages as temperatures soar again during the summer months, which also increases the risk for wildfires.
On Monday, San Jose firefighters responded to a 35-acre vegetation fire off of Silicon Valley Road. The fire was contained before it could burn any homes or threaten structures.
“All I saw were huge flames, yelled to the kids, ‘Call 911,'” said San Jose resident Beth Ellis.
John Leipelt said he received a text about the fire before he saw the smoke.
“We’re in a drought, everything is dry, we had arcing wires,” he said.
Gonzales said what residents can control is conserving energy. The worst case scenario is a strain to the power grid that results in unplanned and uncontrolled, sweeping, cascading blackouts throughout the state that can affect the power grid in neighboring states.
Kocher is hoping this year isn’t as bad for her and husband as it was for them in 2019.
“Of course, I would be very disappointed, but I think I have to understand,” said Kocher. “That’s all you can do, just hope for the best that people don’t suffer.”