Electricity Markets

CAISO issues call for voluntary electricity conservation with high temperatures forecast

With high temperatures in the forecast, the California Independent System Operator issued a call for voluntary electricity conservation, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. for Oct. 15.

The power grid operator on Oct. 14 predicted an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use.

Heat advisories continue to blanket the Southern California coast and parts of the Northern California Bay Area region, CAISO noted on Oct. 15. Temperatures statewide are forecast to be up to 15-25 degrees above normal for this time of the year for Oct. 15 and 16.

Wildfires also are a concern to the reliability of the grid, as red flag warnings are in effect for much of Northern California through Friday morning, the grid operator said, noting that fire can cause outages on transmission lines delivering electricity to homes and businesses. “Currently no wildfires are directly threatening high-voltage lines, and the ISO is monitoring developments closely and coordinating with fire strike teams throughout the state,” CAISO said in a news release.

The temperatures are above normal for this time of year, creating an anticipated shortage in energy supply in the late afternoon hours through the evening, CAISO noted in issuing a Flex Alert.

CAISO urged consumers to conserve electricity, especially during the late afternoon and early evening, when the grid is most stressed due to higher demand and solar energy production falling.

The conservation measures can help the power grid during a time of tight demand and supply, and avoid power interruptions. Energy reduction during a Flex Alert can prevent further emergency measures, including rotating power outages.

CAISO on Oct. 14 also issued a Grid Alert, which notifies market participants of a projected shortfall in supply in the day-ahead energy market. A restricted maintenance order was also issued to restore any generation that may have been offline for routine scheduled maintenance.

PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff

Meanwhile, investor-owned Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) on Oct. 14 said that it would de-energize certain electrical lines for safety as part of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).

PG&E said it was calling a PSPS due to a high-wind event combined with low humidity and severely dry vegetation, that together create high risk of catastrophic wildfires. The PSPS event will affect approximately 53,000 customers in targeted portions of 24 counties.

The utility said that once the weather subsides on Friday morning, PG&E will patrol and inspect the de-energized lines to ensure they were not damaged during the wind event and repair any damage found. PG&E will then safely restore power in stages and as quickly as possible, with the goal of restoring power to nearly all customers within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed.

PG&E anticipates power will be restored to essentially all customers affected by the PSPS event who can receive service by 10 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 16), weather and safety permitting.