California electric grid operators issue ‘flex alert,’ ask for conservation

The managers of California’s electric grid issued the first “flex alert” of the year Tuesday, urging Californians to conserve energy starting at 4 p.m.

With temperatures soaring past 100 degrees, the Independent System Operator said energy demand would reach a peak of 42,800 megawatts sometime in the evening. Supplies are further constrained because two major power generators, capable of producing a combined 1,260 megawatts, have gone offline because of mechanical failures.

A megawatt can power 750 to 1,000 homes.

It was the first “flex alert” of the year. The ISO urged residents to turn their thermostats up to 78 degrees, draw their drapes, turn off unnecessary lights and appliances and use fans if possible to cool their homes.

The flex alert was due to expire at 10 p.m.

Earlier in the day, the organization issued an order requiring power generators to postpone scheduled maintenance.

The National Weather Service said temperatures were expected to hit 104 degrees in Sacramento. The high temperature Wednesday will be 101, and the weather is expected to cool down slightly through the rest of the week.