Statewide power outages not anticipated Wednesday night, officials say


Officials with the California Independent System Operator announced that rotating power outages are not expected Wednesday night, crediting imported energy and wind production.

With California in the grip of one of its worst heat waves in years, power officials on had issued another statewide call Wednesday for the voluntary conservation of electricity and moved up the starting time by one hour in an effort to avoid rolling blackouts.

The California ISO, which runs the electric grid for most of the state, had asked residents to conserve energy from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. by setting air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or above, avoiding using fans and large appliances, turning off unnecessary lights, unplugging unused devices and closing all blinds and drapes.


The flex alert, originally set to begin at 3 p.m., was moved up Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday evening, the ISO called off power outages that had been anticipated statewide, crediting conservation efforts by consumers for the second day in a row with averting rolling blackouts that were implemented Friday and Saturday nights.

Though statewide blackouts were avoided, heat-related equipment issues left thousands without power in Los Angeles. On Wednesday, the L.A. Department of Water and Power was again faced with multiple outages across the city “due to strain on the system because of high demand and high temperatures,” the utility said on Twitter.

Particulate pollution is rife in the San Francisco Bay Area following numerous lightning-sparked fires. Intense heat is triggering ozone smog alerts elsewhere.

Aug. 19, 2020

In a statement, the ISO said that, in addition to consumer conservation efforts, the grid had benefited from some imported energy and resources from wind plants.

“Californians made tonight a success,” said ISO President Steve Berberich. “Everyone pulled together and responded to our warning with action to avoid any interruption in electricity supplies.”

On Monday, officials had warned of blackouts affecting as many as 3 million people, but officials ended up canceling that warning, saying improved weather conditions and conservation efforts reduced demand on the power grid.

Two men play chess in Leimert Park while enduring a heat wave sweeping through the Southland.
The Original Snake Doctor, left, and Louis Benton play chess in Leimert Park while enduring the Southland heat wave.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

The heat wave is expected to continue through Thursday. On Tuesday, temperature records for the date fell across Southern California, including in Long Beach (100 degrees), Burbank (109), UCLA (97), Anaheim (105), Santa Ana (106) and Woodland Hills (112).

The heat is also making life more difficult for firefighters, who are battling big blazes across the state, including near Lake Piru in Ventura County and in the Mojave National Preserve, where the Dome fire has burned more than 43,000 acres and destroyed swaths of Joshua trees.