Flipping switch - turn off lights not in use to to conserve energy

State Calls on All Californians to Conserve Energy During Heat Wave

Updated 08-19-20

Customers asked to reduce energy use from 2 – 9 p.m.

Santa Clara County, Calif. – As the western United States grapples with a record-breaking heat wave, Californians are being asked to reduce their energy consumption between the hours of 2 – 9 p.m. through Wednesday, Aug. 19.

With worsening air quality due to surrounding fires, community members are urged to “pre-cool” their home before 2 p.m. to limit the need to open windows in the evening.

Before 2 p.m.

  • “Pre-cool” their homes, or lower air conditioning thermostats to 72 degrees
  • Charge electric vehicles
  • Charge mobile devices and laptops
  • Run dishwashers, washing machines and other major appliances
  • Set pool pumps to run in the morning or during the night

Between 2 – 9 p.m.

  • Set your air conditioner to 78 F or higher, if health permits
  • Charge electric vehicles after 9 p.m.
  • Use fans when possible to lower indoor temperatures
  • Turn off unnecessary lights and appliances
  • Keep blinds and curtains closed to keep out the heat and sun

For customers without air conditioning, or if their power is interrupted, information about Santa Clara County cooling centers may be found at https://www.sccgov.org/sites/oes/residents/Pages/hot-weather-information.aspx.

On Aug. 14, the California Independent System Operation (CAISO) declared a Stage 3 Electrical Emergency due to the high heat and increased electricity demand. CAISO is the organization responsible for balancing electricity supply and demand across high-voltage, long-distance power lines for 80 percent of the state’s electric grid. CAISO issues Flex Alerts as a call to consumers to voluntarily conserve energy when demand for power could outstrip supply, typically during summer heat waves. Learn more and sign up for Flex Alerts at http://www.flexalert.org/.

PG&E has created on online tool for customers to look up their rotating outage blocks and see if their location is on the schedule for a potential outage due to the current heatwave energy emergency: www.pge.com/rotatingoutages.

Why is this happening?  

The events that have led to the potential for rotating blackouts are a prolonged heatwave throughout the entire western region which caused system-wide increases in demand and disruptions to some power resources available to ensure grid reliability for the CAISO.  SVCE has procured sufficient resources, both energy and capacity, to meet all of SVCE’s load obligation, even during this heatwave.  While SVCE prioritizes clean, carbon-free resources on behalf of its customers, SVCE is obligated to have contracted capacity from non-renewable energy sources to ensure electricity is available during peak demand.

Several factors played a role in CAISO making the decision to issue a Flex Alert and prepare to require targeted outages throughout the state. Temperatures throughout the western region hit triple digits, causing air conditioning use to be above average. Additionally, the cloudy weather reduced power generation from solar plants, wind power was below average due to relatively still conditions, and several natural gas plants under generated. Lastly, residential electricity use remains above average due to the impacts of COVID-19. During the high temperatures this weekend, the demand for electricity increased significantly.

Thankfully, the community and state has been voluntarily conserving energy during peak hours of the day which has kept the electric demand within available resources and has prevented the need for rotating outages in Santa Clara County as of August 18. We are still in this heat wave, so all customers are asked to continue conserving through August 19.

Latest CAISO press release.


About Silicon Valley Clean Energy
Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, community-owned agency serving the majority of Santa Clara County communities, acquiring clean, carbon-free electricity on behalf of more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Member jurisdictions include Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and unincorporated Santa Clara County. SVCE is guided by a Board of Directors, which is comprised of a representative from the governing body of each member community. For more information, please visit SVCleanEnergy.org.