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Environment & Science

Heat's rising, but California's grid operators say they'll manage (for now)



The main transmission lines pass over a parking lot at the AES power plant in Huntington Beach, CA.
The main transmission lines pass over a parking lot at the AES power plant in Huntington Beach, CA.
Bear Guerra/KPCC

The operators of the state’s power grid they’re ready to keep air conditioners humming during today’s high temperatures.

The California Independent Systems Operator updates its daily supply-and-demand outlook every ten minutes on the web. And they'll announce a FlexAlert if it looks like demand is cranking up faster than the power available — potentially asking consumers to turn off lights and computers that aren't needed, reset thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and hold off on washing clothes or dishes till after dinner. 

CAISO spokeswoman Stephanie McCorkle says one reason a FlexAlert is unlikely (for now) is that the forecasted demand for power isn’t as high as records set in the past.

“We’re seeing a very manageable forecast for a peak demand today of 43 thousand megawatts as compared to the all time record peak of more than 50 thousand in 2006,” McCorkle said.

McCorkle says long or back to back heat waves could tax the grid when power plants work overtime, “especially the power plants down in Southern California and are making up for the deficit been created by the San Onofre nuclear power plant being off-line.”

Some tips of staying cool from Southland utilities: