Power demand is expected to surge to the highest levels this year as a heat wave bakes Northern California this week, energy officials said.
Sacramento hit a high temperature of 107 degrees downtown Tuesday, and the same is expected Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. A high ridge of strong pressure is bringing sunny skies and sizzling temperatures to the region, forecasters said.
The California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s transmission grid, issued a Flex Alert on Tuesday calling for conservation. The ISO said demand for electricity was expected to peak on Tuesday at 44,700 megawatts – one of the highest levels of the year but still below the expected level of available supply. The Flex Alert was also expected to be in effect Wednesday.
The alert Tuesday was the agency’s first heat-related warning since early July 2013, when the grid manager issued alerts on back-to-back days for Northern California, spokesman Steven Greenlee said.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District recorded an unofficial peak reading for 2015 around 5 p.m., when energy demand hit 2,928 megawatts, a spokesman said. The reading was expected to climb Tuesday evening as many of the district’s 625,000 customers turned on their air conditioners at home, officials said.
The previous peak this year was 2,865 megawatts set Friday, when the capital hit 105 degrees, SMUD said. The all-time high demand of 3,299 megawatts was set in July 2006, grid operations director Mark Willis said.
“When we reach 105 to 108 degrees, we do get additional demands,” he said.
Concerns about heat led Folsom Pro Rodeo officials to cancel a cattle drive on Wednesday that traditionally kicks off the annual Fourth of July event. The three-day rodeo begins Thursday at the Dan Russell Rodeo Arena in Folsom.
Churches and nonprofit groups announced plans to set up air-conditioned centers throughout the region. Cooling centers are planned from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at E49 Corp., 2830 G St., Sacramento; noon to 6 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 2620 Capitol Ave., Sacramento; noon to 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 2391 St. Mark’s Way, Sacramento; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Park Drive, Rancho Cordova.