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San Diegans may be asked to conserve power this week

San Diegans have not seen a Flex Alert yet this year, but one could be coming. State power grid operators are monitoring a heatwave in Northern California that has been driving up energy use.

San Diego has not seen temperatures rising dramatically, but because the power grid is interconnected residents could be asked to conserve energy if demand is forecasted to outweigh supply.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO), who runs most of the state's power grid, on Tuesday reported energy supplies are expected to cover higher demand this week.


A release from Cal-ISO on Sunday said, "If weather or grid conditions worsen, the ISO may issue a series of emergency notifications to access additional resources, and prepare market participants and the public for potential energy shortages and conservation."

Part of that could include a Flex Alert, which asks Californians to conserve electricity, especially in the hours between 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"Things can change — so it’s always good to be prepared," said Alex Welling, a communications manager with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).

Typically Flex Alerts are issued the day before a forecasted power shortfall. Welling said San Diegans have responded to them in the past and it is used to help avoid a situation that could end up with rolling blackouts. Welling said those are not anticipated, but people should be prepared for the unexpected.

"What I mean by that is god forbid there’s a fire that takes out a transmission line in Northern California or some other natural disaster that takes out a source of power then we have to rethink what we’re doing," Welling said.


Grid operators said energy supplies should cover higher than average electric use this week, but if that changes and rolling blackouts are needed Cal-ISO officials would tell utilities like SDG&E to start shedding load — that could last for up to an hour.

Welling said people should have updated contact information because if rotating outages come residents will be notified via a call or text.

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