State residents are being urged to conserve energy during afternoons and evenings over the three-day Labor Day weekend. The state’s grid operator has issued a Flex Alert, based on a forecast of increased power demand due to expected high temperatures.
Power customers are asked to reduce their energy use from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. each day, Saturday through Monday, when air conditioners drive consumption. By doing so, customers can help make sure the state has enough supply to meet demand for electricity.
Some helpful tips for conserving power:
• Avoid using electrical appliances and devices from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. Put off tasks such as vacuuming, laundry, dish washing and computer time until after 9 p.m.
• Adjust your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher or turn it off if you will be away from home. Use a fan instead of air conditioning when possible.
• Draw drapes and turn off unnecessary lighting.
• Limit the opening of refrigerators, which is a major user of electricity in most homes. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day.
• Keep refrigerator full (with bottles of water if nothing else) and unplug your second refrigerator, if you have one.
• Avoid using the oven. Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside.
• Set your pool pump to run overnight instead of during the day.
A Flex Alert is an urgent call by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to conserve electricity and shift demand to off-peak hours. Conservation can generate 1,000 megawatts or more in electricity savings statewide—equal to the output of two large power plants.
Pacific Gas &Electric meteorologists are forecasting a strong high-pressure system over the western United States resulting in hot and dry conditions away from the coast. Daytime highs could top out 15 to 20 degrees above normal.
PG&E Tips to Stay Safe and Cool
• Plan ahead: Check the weather forecast to prepare for hot days.
• Keep an emergency contact list: Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
• Have a buddy system: Check in on elderly or frail people.
• Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, even when you are not thirsty.
• Stay cool: Take a cool shower or bath and wear lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing.
• Stay safe: Stay out of direct sunlight and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.