On August 31, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation urging businesses of all kinds to conserve power as much as possible. On September 6, he ramped things up. “This heat wave is set to be the hottest and longest on record in California for September,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in an announcement. “We are now heading into the worst part of it—the risk of outages is real. Your efforts have paid off so far, but we need everyone to double down to save energy after 4 p.m.”
“An emergency proclamation has been signed by the Governor due to the extreme heat wave,” the release reads. “Starting now, we are asking all cannabis licensees to voluntarily consider reducing their energy load by: turning off the lights or any major sources of power; and begin using a backup generator, if safe, and available.”
The Department of Cannabis Control also urged growers to use less energy during the hours of 2-9:00 p.m., saying that growers can rearrange chores in some cases.
At 5:18 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6, temperatures hit 116 degrees Fahrenheit in the state’s capitol Sacramento—hitting an “all-time record.” (That’s 46.6 degrees Celsius.) Nearly 100 years ago, the previous record was set at 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) on July 17, 1925, according to the National Weather Service.
Within minutes, the state’s grid operator announced that it had issued Level 3 energy emergency alerts, with imminent rolling blackouts “very possible,” the grid operator California ISO (CAISO) tweeted. The grid operator hinted that people need to get a bit creative in order to save energy, and that the time to do so would be now.
A Level 3 emergency alert is only one step ahead of flatly ordering rotating power outages. CAISO warned residents that the peak electricity demand last Tuesday hit 52,061 megawatts, which shattered the previous high of 50,270 megawatts, which was set on July 24, 2006.
Elliot Mainzer, CEO of the California Independent System Operator, told USA Today that the danger of blackouts is real, but that there are things residents can do to avoid it. “Over the last several days, we have seen a positive impact on lowering demand because of everyone’s help,” Mainzer said. “But now we need a reduction in energy use that is two or three times greater than what we’ve seen so far.”
As it turns out, the widespread blackouts that were expected on Tuesday, didn’t come, or blackouts were limited to certain areas.
Mercury News reports that state officials actually canceled the Stage 3 emergency alert at 8:00 p.m. and said that “conservation played a big part in protecting electric grid reliability.”
Residents of all types are encouraged to pre-cool their homes in the early hours of the morning and turn up their thermostats up to 78 degrees Farenheit in the afternoon. Residents are also urged to avoid using major appliances after 4:00 pm.
Residents can also visit FlexAlert.org for more energy saving tips.
The heat wave and vicious heat dome covering the western states of the U.S. is not limited to California or the U.S. A climate scientist told The New York Times that heat waves around the world this summer are pushing nations “to the edge.”