As temperatures inch higher and are expected to rise through at least Monday, officials have issued a statewide Flex Alert for California residents.
The alert is in effect Wednesday and urges people to voluntarily save energy, especially between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., the California Independent System Operator says. More Flex Alerts could be on the way through Labor Day weekend, the organization said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the rising temperatures and the strain it is expected to put on the state's power grid in a live message Wednesday afternoon. The two most critical days will be Sunday and Monday, he said.
The electricity demand in California could rise higher than 48,000 megawatts on Monday. That would be the highest daily demand so far this year.
"It puts us in a position where we have some vulnerabilities," Newsom said.
To help ease the strain on the power grid, Newsom announced he has signed an executive order that creates flexibility in how California gets its energy. The order allows what the governor calls short-term energy supports.
This includes allowing ships along California ports to keep their engines on, to avoid using energy from the land.
A similar order was signed in 2020 and 2021.
Newsom says he is in conversations with California businesses to see how they can reduce their energy demand in the coming days.
The drought in the West has played a role in limited energy supplies. As reservoirs levels have dropped lower, hydroelectric power sources risk having to halt production. Notably, the Hyatt Powerplant at Lake Oroville went offline in August 2021 before it was able to restart in January.
"A megadrought means less megawatts," Newsom said.