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Flex Alert to start Friday: Californians asked to conserve energy

3:40 PM, Aug 9, 2012   |    comments
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FOLSOM, CA - If you think you're sweating during this heat wave, the folks at the California Independent System Operator, the state's main power grid, are doing twice that.

There's only so much power and it's a tough job to move electricity up and down the state as demand rises with the temperature.

"The ISO is not forecasting any blackouts at all," Cal ISO Stephanie McCorkle said. "But we are getting into a tight power supply situation because of the heat wave."

RELATED STORY: Hot weather brings power conservation call

With supply tight, Cal ISO has issued a statewide Flex Alert starting Friday and lasting through the weekend.

That's when Californians are asked to conserve by cutting back electricity usage between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The state must keep power reserves at at least 7 percent to avoid a serious stage one emergency.

"We've had a very large power plant in Southern California suffer from equipment failure last night," McCorkle said. "That's one of the reasons we triggered a Flex Alert."

Solar power is helping prevent the rolling blackouts that once plagued California. Many solar farms have popped up in recent years and rooftop installations have skyrocketed among low and middle income neighborhoods by more than 300 percent.

"That power is exported back to the grid and that goes to the neighboring house, the neighboring business so they can actually use that solar power to turn the AC on, the lights on," Solar Energy Industries Assn. spokesperson Brian White said.

One of the tips during a Flex Alert is to bump up air conditioners to 78-degrees, a tough request to ask Californians when it's so hot outside.

"It's not much different than being in the shade outside," Utility Customer Waleska Banegas said. "So definitely a hard thing to do."

By Nannette Miranda
ABC7

ABC7/KGO

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