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SDG&E: No Rolling Blackouts Expected Saturday

A trail of electric grid wires and poles travels across the skyline in South ...

Photo by Mike Damron

Above: A trail of electric grid wires and poles travels across the skyline in South Park, July 27, 2020.

San Diego Gas & Electric officials said they did not expect any rotating power outages Saturday despite the excessive heat and high energy demand, one day after California initiated rolling blackouts for the first time since 2001.

At 2:22 p.m. Saturday, SDG&E said it was in contact with the California Independent System Operator, which issued an electrical grid warning earlier in the day.

"However, given what occurred on Friday, SDG&E will provide our customers with as much notice as possible should the situation change, via news outlets, our social channels, sdge.com and phone calls," said Jessica Packard of SDG&E.

After a day that saw triple-digit temperatures in many parts of the state, the Cal-ISO declared a Stage 3 Emergency Friday and directed utility companies to initiate rotating outages throughout California.

That led SDG&E to cut power to large areas of San Diego County to cope with increased demand brought about by the heat wave, which is expected to last into next week.

The rolling outages began at 6:40 p.m. and ended shortly after 8 p.m., SDG&E said. About 58,700 customers were affected by the blackouts.

The statewide emergency was lifted shortly before 10 p.m., and power was restored.

"A Stage 3 Emergency is declared when demand outpaces available supply," Cal-ISO said in a statement. The order was declared after "extreme heat drove up electricity demand across California, causing the ISO to dip into its operating reserves for supply to cover demand."

"Although a Stage Emergency is a significant inconvenience to those affected by rotating power interruptions, it is preferable to manage an emergency with controlled measures rather than let it cause widespread and more prolonged disruption," Cal-ISO said.

A Flex Alert was issued earlier in the day, urging residents statewide to conserve electricity between 3 and 10 p.m. to avoid overloading the power system.

Cal-ISO offered a series of tips, including:

— Turning off unnecessary lights;

— Using major appliances before 3 p.m. and after 10 p.m.;

— Setting air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher;

— Using fans; and

— Keeping drapes drawn.

According to CAL-ISO, the state's available capacity for Saturday was hovering at a little above 50,000 megawatts, with peak demand expected to be 46,372 megawatts.

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