Elevated temperatures across the state, prompted a Flex Alert on Wednesday, urging all Californians to voluntarily reduce their energy consumption between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
“What that means is that we are all being asked to cut back on energy use at least during that five-hour period. It’s always a good idea to conserve anyway all the time to help ensure there is enough energy supply to meet demand,” said Mark Mesesan, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) Communications Representative.
This is not to be confused with a public safety power shut-off.
At Papi’s #1 Restaurant in Atascadero, workers take several steps to conserve energy.
For example, restaurant manager Ruben Martinez said one of their strategies is opening up doors and windows in the evening once the weather conditions are more tolerable to give their AC a break.
Martinez added that they only turn on one of their televisions, and they unplug unused appliances such as their coffee maker.
What can you do at home?
“Reset your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, health permitting of course, and turn that AC off if you’re not home,” Mesesan explained. “Avoid using major appliances during the Flex Alert, so things like using the oven and stove, dishwasher.”
Saving energy helps even if you do not live in the interior valleys.
“That helps relieve demand on the grid and that helps everyone,” Mesesan said.
Enrique Zavalza and his family take advantage of the big trees surrounding their home in Santa Margarita and use a tent to stay cool.
Zavalza said his family keeps a good stash of water and they make sure the whole family stays hydrated. He said his son just started kindergarten, so he made sure to pack the essentials.
“I put extra water and snacks,” he said.
The California ISO said these voluntary Flex Alerts help them balance out the grid, so they do not have to resort to emergency measures such as power outages.
PG&E reminds its customers that they have several rewards programs for those who help conserve energy. One is Smart AC and the other is Power Saver Rewards, but you can't participate in both at the same time.
To learn more about Smart AC, click here.
To learn more about Power Saver Rewards, click here.