With triple-digit temperatures forecasted likely through the weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom this week extended emergency actions taken last week to bring more energy online and reduce demand on the grid during the record-setting heat wave across the western U.S.
The prolonged heat wave is on track to be California’s hottest and longest for September and is projected to set a new record high for demand on the state’s energy grid with a load forecast of 51,276 megawatts today.
The state’s emergency response and efforts by large energy users, energy producers and California residents has helped to prevent outages during this extreme heat event, and even greater action will be needed in the days ahead as the state faces peak temperatures. Californians’ action to conserve energy during the Flex Alert saved 1,000 megawatts of power.
Officials stress the need of an additional 2,000 megawatts of savings today given higher forecasts, and everyone needs to play a part. Many state buildings will power down lights and air conditioning beginning at 4 p.m. to save energy. The state has also taken other urgent actions to bring more power onto the grid, including importing energy from out-of-state, installing emergency generators and creating a Strategic Reliability Reserve.
“Californians have stepped up in a big way during this record heat wave, but with the hottest temperatures here now, the risk of outages is real. We all have to double down on conserving energy to reduce the unprecedented strain on the grid,” Newsom said. “We need everyone—individuals, businesses, the state and energy producers—to do their part in the coming days and help California continue to meet this challenge.”
This week’s executive order extends provisions of the governor’s earlier emergency proclamation and executive order through this Friday to increase energy production, reduce strain on the grid and provide additional flexibility to state agencies, energy users and utility operators.
Newsom has signed AB 2645 by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), which requires counties to ensure community resilience centers can serve as community-wide assets to mitigate public health impacts during disasters, including extreme heat events, and integrate these centers into their local emergency plans.
Extreme heat endangers vulnerable Californians, including the elderly and those with health concerns. State agencies and departments have gathered resources and information to help the public stay safe, cool, and connected during this heat wave. Here are some suggestions:
• If you don’t have an air conditioner, go to a shopping mall or public building for a few hours. If you must be outdoors, wear lightweight clothing and sunscreen, avoid the hottest parts of the day, and avoid strenuous activities.
• Sweating removes needed salt and minerals from the body. Avoid drinks with caffeine (tea, coffee, and soda) and alcohol.
• Check on friends and family and have someone do the same for you. If you know someone who is elderly or has a health condition, check on them twice a day. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Know the symptoms of heat-related illness and be ready to help.
• Find cooling centers in your area by contacting your county or calling your local health department, or find one at Cooling Centers | California Governor’s Office of Emergency Management
• Employers who have questions or need assistance with workplace health and safety programs can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at (800) 963-9424. Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district office. Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention program includes enforcement of the heat regulation as well as multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employers and workers. Cal/OSHA inspectors will be conducting unannounced inspections checking for compliance at worksites throughout the state.