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California Grid Operator Concludes Energy Emergency Alert With No Load Sheds

As California continues to face scorching temperatures and soaring power demand, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) on Sept. 6 ended an energy emergency alert without load sheds.

CAISO issued an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) 3, effective at 5:17 p.m. on the evening of Sept. 6, as electricity supplies ran low in the face of record heat and demand, giving it the option of ordering rotating power outages to lower demand and stabilize the system.

Earlier in the day, the ISO had already declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) 2 for 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., which signaled to participants to bid more energy into the market and allowed the ISO to tap into emergency demand response programs that provide financial incentives for reducing energy use.

As grid conditions worsened, energy supplies were determined to be insufficient to cover demand and reserves, and an EEA 3 was declared, making controlled power outages imminent or in process according to each utility’s emergency plan.

California ISO reported that power grid peak demand hit 52,061 MW, a new all-time record.

For two days in August 2020, planned outages affecting about 800,000 homes and businesses lasted anywhere from 15 minutes to about 2½ hours, marking the first time outages were ordered in California due to insufficient supplies in nearly 20 years.

CAISO extended a Flex Alert for Sept. 7. A Flex Alert is a call for consumers to voluntarily conserve electricity when there is a predicted shortage of energy supply, especially if the grid operator needs to dip into reserves to cover demand.

Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sept. 6 extended emergency actions taken last week to bring more energy online and reduce demand on the grid.

The executive order extended provisions of the Governor’s earlier emergency proclamation and executive order through this Friday to increase energy production, reduce strain on the grid and provide additional flexibility to state agencies, energy users and utility operators.