By SDCN Staff
Folsom, CA–The California Independent System Operator (ISO) has issued an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) 3, which was effective at 5:17 p.m. Tuesday, as electricity supplies run low in the face of record heat and demand.
If necessary, the grid operator could have ordered rotating power outages to lower demand and stabilize the system.
If outages were initiated, consumers would have expected to receive notifications from power providers on areas affected and time duration.
Earlier today, ISO had already declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) 2 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., which signals to participants to bid more energy into the market, and allows the ISO to tap into emergency demand response programs that provide financial incentives for reducing energy use.
As grid conditions worsened, energy supplies were determined to be insufficient to cover demand and reserves, and an EEA 3 was declared. Controlled power outages were imminent or in the process according to each utility’s emergency plan.
Tuesday’s peak electricity demand was forecast at more than 52,000 megawatts, a new historic all-time high for the grid, as the state endured the hottest day in this prolonged, record-breaking heat wave.
If needed, ISO could order utilities to begin rotating power outages to maintain the stability of the electric grid. If that occurs, consumers could expect communications – either phone, text, or email – from their utilities notifying them of outage areas and likely durations.
Rotating power outages, or small-scale, contained, controlled interruptions in power, can help maintain reliability and avoid cascading blackouts. When the ISO determines that supplies are not sufficient to meet demand, it can issue an EEA 3, and then if reserves are exhausted, it would order utilities to begin outages to bring demand back in line with available supplies.
Outages are a significant inconvenience to those affected, but it’s preferable to manage emergencies in a controlled manner rather than let it cause a wider spread, longer-lasting disruption, ISO stated in a release.
Power interruptions are kept as brief as possible and utilities rotate them through their customer base so that no one area has prolonged outages. Utilities make the determination of how best to spread and rotate the outages across their customer base, with the goal of limiting their duration as much as possible.
For two days in August 2020, planned outages affecting about 800,000 homes and businesses lasted anywhere from 15 minutes to about 2½ hours, marking the first time outages were ordered in California due to insufficient supplies in nearly 20 years.
Planned outages are implemented when all the other emergency tools on hand for the ISO, utilities, and state agencies have been used and supplies are still insufficient to cover demand.