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California heat wave leads to power advisories on Central Coast

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-25 20:27:41-04

A Flex Alert was in place again Wednesday as California energy officials worked to ease tensions on a stressed power grid.The alert was first issued Tuesday, which is when a surge of power use may have caused a Paso Robles breaker to blow, disrupting the power circuit at the California Mid-State Fair.Texas-based clothing retailer Larry Palmer said his business, Shannie Girl, lost out on sales Tuesday when the power surge caused shopping halls at the fair to heat up."It was during a prime time of shopping opp for local people to come see what we had to offer," Palmer said. "So they wouldn’t come in the buildings because the building had no A/C, fans or lights, so it shut us down for a while and definitely affected sales."PG&E Communications Representative Mark Masesen said what happened at the fair is indicative of a laboring power grid."The grid is stressed and people are using power all over the place," Masesen said.Masesen also encouraged people to limit power use during this heat wave."The recommendation is what can you get by with, what’s comfortable?" Masesen said. "If you can raise your thermostat to 78, most of us can live with that." What is a Flex Alert?Paso Robles boutique owner Nancy Newton Caswell said she answers that request at her shop, Kaya, despite customer complaints."They always do complain: it’s too hot to try on clothes, it’s too cold to try on clothes," Caswell said. She said she keeps the thermostat around 78 degrees because she wants to do her part in helping the environment, which is something Masesen said everyone should think about before blasting the A/C.Cal ISO Senior Public Information Officer Steven Greenlee said power use is through the roof, increasing from 28,000 Megawatt Hours in March to 48,500 MWH on Wednesday.This flex period applies to power use before noon and after 9 p.m.While there is no penalty for not participating, utility managers warn it could increase stress and lead to outages.