Power supplies could be even tighter, as cloud cover is expected to cause a drop in solar power.
A blistering heat wave over the next several days is prompting the California Independent System Operator to issue a Flex Alert for Friday, which means residents are being asked to reduce power usage from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
California is expected to have record-breaking heat, up to 10-20 degrees above normal in some areas.
At La Tapatia restaurant in Martinez, they like heat in the food but not so much in the kitchen.
“It’s difficult. I tell you the guys in the kitchen they should be awarded special hazard pay, cause it gets very warm in the kitchen,” said Ernesto Guerrero, the restaurant owner.
Guerrero, the restaurant owner, had a small air-conditioning unit installed Thursday. He says without indoor dining, they are able to save on cooling, but it’s hard for restaurants to conserve much more during dinner hour.
“We ventilate the place prior to opening up. We turn on the air conditioners last, because not only do we want to conserve energy but it’s also costly. Stoves and refrigeration we can’t do much about,” said Guerrero.
The main concern is people running air conditioners longer will put a strain on the power grid. Power supplies also could be even tighter, as cloud cover is expected to cause a drop in solar power.
“The cloud cover obviously reduces the solar output and so that further tightens our electricity supplies,” said Anne Gonzales, a California ISO spokeswoman.
“Rolling blackouts” have returned to California, as utilities announced on Friday they would be turning off power on a rotating basis for hundreds-of-thousands of customers so as not to overwhelm the electrical grid during the current heatwave.
PG&E says it will be turning off power for up to 250,000 customers “in rotating blocks” until 11 p.m. Friday, at the direction of the independent nonprofit that oversees the power grid.
The utility says it will not be able to give people advance warning.
The California Independent System Operator, which called for the outages, has not imposed such action on the state’s energy grid operators in two decades, since the “rolling blackouts” in 2001.
“We urge our customers to take immediate steps to reduce their power usage. We will work to restore power safely and as quickly as we are able,” PG&E interim president Michael Lewis wrote in a statement.
The rolling blackouts are unrelated to last year’s power shutoffs during high fire conditions, and would last approximately an hour.