California's electric grid operator called for residents to make larger reductions in electricity usage this week, warning of worsening grid conditions amid a record heat wave.
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) warned Sunday that it is "stepping up its call for consumers to lower electricity use" as a result of historic heat that will put severe pressure on the grid, according to a notice. CAISO requested that residents set their thermostats to a minimum of 78 degrees, turn of all "unnecessary lights" and avoid using large appliances or charging their electric vehicles (EVs) between 4-9 p.m. throughout the duration of the alert.
"Starting tomorrow, this multi-day event is going to get much more intense," Elliot Mainzer, CAISO's president and CEO, said in a statement Sunday. "We are facing a load forecast of 48,817 megawatts and energy deficits between 2,000 and 4,000 megawatts for Monday, resulting in the highest likelihood of rotating outages we have seen so far this summer."
"We thank electricity consumers for their sustained effort to help us maintain reliability during these very difficult conditions," he added.
The call for reduced EV charging comes during the Labor Day holiday, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. The weekend is expected to be the busiest Labor Day for travel in three years, according to AAA.
Monday marked the sixth consecutive day that CAISO asked residents to cut back on electricity consumption. The grid operator also extended the Monday alert to last until 10 p.m. to save additional power.
"Monday and Tuesday are still projected to be the most challenging days yet, with the highest temperatures forecast on Tuesday and projected electricity demand of 50,099 megawatts," the notice stated.
CAISO explained that consumers should pre-cool their homes and use major appliances before 4 p.m. because that is when the state's solar power resources are "abundant." In recent years, California has pushed to transition rapidly away from fossil fuel power generation and, in 2021, was the nation's largest producer of electricity from solar power.
The state's government, meanwhile, issued an environmental regulation in late August that prohibits the sale of traditional internal combustion engine vehicles after 2034. All new car sales in 2035 must be EVs.
"When it comes to good energy policy, California’s leaders are unplugged from reality," Daniel Turner, the founder and executive director of energy group Power The Future, said in a statement last week.
"Temperatures are soaring, and residents are being asked to power down their everyday appliances and air conditioners over a long holiday weekend," he continued. "Welcome to the green utopia that Joe Biden, Gavin Newsom and the rest of the eco-left want for the rest of the country. It would be comical if the consequences were not so harmful."