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Calif. grid operator issues statewide alert with heat wave

Against the backdrop of scorching temperatures, the California Independent System Operator Corporation on Aug. 31 said it has issued a statewide “Flex Alert” that calls for voluntary electricity conservation from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sept. 1.

A Flex Alert is issued by the ISO when the electric grid is under stress because of generation or transmission outages, or from persistent hot temperatures. The ISO also issued a Flex Alert on Aug. 29.

“Consumers are urged to conserve electricity especially during the afternoon when air conditioners typically are at peak use,” the grid operator said.

Forecasts project record demand load on Sept. 1, the ISO said. The ISO said all available resources are online and ready to respond. Power supply conditions will be tight and so will be the natural gas supply in southern California, CAISO said.

Southern California Gas Company and the ISO are following the processes established to manage gas supply in the Los Angeles Basin during the limitations placed on the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, CAISO noted. 

The generation fleet has performed well so far during a recent prolonged heat wave without any major outages, CAISO said. The ISO’s service territory serves about 80 percent of California’s electricity consumers.

LADWP customers’ power use hits new all-time peak demand record

With a record breaking heat wave persisting across Los Angeles, and the statewide Flex Alert issued for Sept. 1, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power continued to urge customers to reduce their electricity use as much as possible while staying safe.

LADWP said its customers’ electricity use hit a new all-time peak demand on Aug. 31, the highest ever recorded in over 100 years, and another record peak demand was forecasted for Sept. 1 when temperatures were expected to be even hotter, especially along the coast.

LADWP customers set a new record for peak electricity demand of 6,502 megawatts at 4:15 p.m. Aug. 31, shattering the previous historic peak demand of 6,396 MW, set on September 16, 2014. On Aug. 30, the peak load was 6,160 MW which was the second consecutive day that a new record high for 2017 had been set.

LADWP advised customers to conserve electricity during the afternoons when air conditioners typically are at peak use. By conserving electricity, customers can help prevent power outages that can occur if electrical equipment becomes overloaded.

Due to extreme heat and customer demand, high voltage electrical equipment at two of LADWP’s 125 in-basin distributing stations experienced overloading conditions earlier this week that resulted in outages.

LADWP power system officials explained that when electrical equipment at a distributing station becomes overloaded due to extreme demand, exacerbated by extreme heat, they will initiate rotating outages by turning off individual electrical circuits supplied by that station.

While this action creates short outages for various neighborhoods served by those circuits, it is designed to protect the electrical system from further damage, and prevent more widespread outages from occurring. It also maintains electric service for the most customers possible. 

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