Operator’s Flex Alert Requests Voluntary Conservation Today – Wednesday, August 17th, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Customers Can Be Rewarded for Taking Simple Steps to Save Energy and Protect Grid Reliability
OAKLAND, Calif.—With hot temperatures and high energy demand across California, the state’s power grid operator is asking residents statewide to voluntarily conserve electricity this afternoon and evening when the grid is most stressed due to higher demand and energy supplies are tighter.
The Flex Alert, called by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), will be in effect today, Wednesday, August 17 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use.
The grid operator is asking all Californians to reduce electricity use during a Flex Alert to prevent further emergency measures, including rotating power outages.
Saving Energy at Home
Here are ways Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) customers can cut their power use and help keep the lights (and air conditioning) on for everyone.
Today, before 4 p.m., Californians should:
- Pre-cool your home or workspace. Lower your thermostat in the morning. As the temperature rises outside, raise your thermostat and circulate the pre-cooled air with a fan.
- Use major appliances, including:
- Washer and dryer
- Oven and stove for pre-cooking and preparing meals
- Close your shades: Sunlight passing through windows heats your home and makes your air conditioner work harder. Block this heat by keeping blinds or drapes closed on the sunny side of your home.
Today, during the Flex Alert from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Californians should:
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health permitting: Every degree you lower the thermostat means your air conditioner must work even harder to keep your home cool.
- When it’s cooler outside, bring the cool air in If the outside air is cool in the night or early morning, open windows and doors and use fans to cool your home.
- Avoid using major appliances.
- Turn off all unnecessary lights.
Making a Difference
Customers can save energy and help the grid this summer by enrolling in PG&E’s new program, Power Saver Rewards. The free, voluntary program rewards participants for temporarily reducing energy use when demand is high. By conserving energy during Power Saver Rewards events coinciding with Flex Alerts customers earn $2 for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy saved. It’s easy to enroll and get rewarded for reducing energy use this summer. Visit powersaver.pge.com to learn about the program and sign up.
Another way to help reduce the amount of power on the grid during a Flex Alert is to enroll in PG&E’s SmartAC program. This year, new participants will receive $75 for existing thermostats or $120 off a new purchase of a thermostat with enrollment.
Customers can not be enrolled in both demand response programs.
Saving Energy at Your Office or Business
If you’re working in an office setting, CAISO recommends the following:
- Turn off any office equipment that is not currently in use. Alternately, look for sleep or power-saving modes in between uses during the day.
- Enable power management settings on all computers so that they go to sleep and turn off screens when not in use.
- Plug electronics such as coffeemakers and microwaves into power strips and switch them off when the day is done.
- As you leave the office, get in the habit of checking to make sure computers, printers/copiers, and other office equipment are fully shut down. If possible, switch them off at the power strip to ensure they are no longer draining energy.
PG&E’s Demand Response programs offer incentives for business owners and residential customers who curtail their energy use during times of peak demand. PG&E has several of these programs, totaling about 245,000 enrolled PG&E customers.
PG&E is prepared for the heat and, based on forecasts, doesn’t anticipate issues meeting increased demand for power.
Also, at this time, the grid operator has not indicated that it plans to call for rotating outages. PG&E does not project a need for a Public Safety Power Shutoff due to this weather, but the company’s meteorology team will continuously monitor conditions.
PG&E also urges customers to stay safe during extreme heat. The company funds cooling centers throughout its service area to help customers escape the heat and cool off. To find a center near you click here or call 1-877-474-3266.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.