California Heat Rises Amid Fire and Power Worries

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California officials called for a Flex Alert again Tuesday, hoping voluntary power conservation can prevent rolling blackouts as demand peaks.

Key to avoiding blackouts Monday and Tuesday, officials said, is reducing energy use in the hours of greatest consumption: late afternoon and evening.

Californians are strongly urged to lower electricity use by setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, health permitting, avoiding use of major appliances, and turning off all unnecessary lights, officials said.

“We need two to three times as much conservation as we’ve been experiencing to keep the power on with these historically high temperatures and demand,” Elliot Mainzer, chief executive of the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s power grid, warned at a Monday news conference.
PACIFIC PALISADES, CA – AUGUST 25: Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades is crowded with afternoon traffic on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

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In response to a Flex Alert first issued Wednesday, Californians have lowered their energy use by about 2%.

“Everyone has to do their part to help step up, for just a few more days … to help reduce strain on the grid,” Newsom said.

The governor encouraged people to pre-cool their homes earlier in the day Tuesday and Wednesday, to keep out sunlight by keeping blinds closed, and especially to limit electricity use after 4 p.m.
Heat tips

Stay informed

You can monitor your area’s forecast by going to the National Weather Service’s website and searching by city, state or ZIP Code for the latest weather updates and alerts. Follow local officials and agencies on social media for tips and information on available resources in your area. Keep an extreme heat checklist to make sure you are prepared.

Stay indoors and dress in light clothing

Officials from the National Weather Service and public health offices advise people to stay indoors as much as possible, particularly between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is strongest. If you exercise outdoors, it’s recommended to do so early in the morning or later in the evening.

If you don’t have air conditioning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends going to a mall or public library. You can also refer to your county’s website or call the local health department to learn about cooling centers in your area. Other options include taking a cool shower twice a day or even finding a shaded yard or park. (Health officials at UCLA say electric fans will not prevent heat-related illnesses when temperatures reach the high 90s and above.)

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