FOLSOM – As temperatures around the state are expected to peak at or near record numbers including temperatures in Southern California urban areas experiencing Death Valley like extremes, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) is asking all consumers to please conserve their energy use.
The ISO has issued a statewide Flex Alert, a call for voluntary electricity conservation, beginning Saturday and extending through Monday, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Labor Day weekend temperatures are forecast 10-20 degrees above normal for California, and the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use. Overnight temperatures statewide are projected to be at least 10 degrees higher than normal, which doesn’t allow infrastructure to cool down.
High heat is also predicted throughout the West for the weekend, which can limit the ISO’s ability to import energy to serve demand.
In an emailed statement to the Los Angeles Blade the ISO noted:
Consumers can actively help by shifting energy use to morning and nighttime hours. Conservation can lower demand and avoid further actions, including outages, and lessen the duration of possible power interruptions. For example, consumer conservation efforts during a heat wave on Aug. 17 and 18 were key to preventing expected power outages.
Consumers are urged to conserve electricity when the grid is most stressed in the afternoons and evenings, when temperatures remain high and solar production is falling due to the sun setting.
The ISO recognizes that reducing energy use during the hot time of the day is a hardship, especially for those working from home or for families with children schooling at home. However, if a large enough number of consumers conserve even in small ways, they can help grid operators avoid more serious system emergencies. Between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., the ISO is urging consumers to:
Set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees, if health permits.
Defer use of major appliances.
Turn off unnecessary lights.
Unplug unused electrical devices.
Close blinds and drapes.
Use fans when possible.
Limit time the refrigerator door is open.
Consumers can also take steps to prepare for the Flex Alert by doing the following before 3 p.m.:
“Pre-cool” their homes, or lower air conditioning thermostats.
Charge electric vehicles.
Charge mobile devices and laptops.
Run dishwashers, washing machines and other major appliances.
Set pool pumps to run in the early morning or late at night.
Los Angeles County beaches will be open for Labor Day weekend, but face masks and physical distancing are still required, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors (DBH). Beach parties, barbecues and bonfires are still not allowed. As part of Coastal Cleanup Month, visitors also are urged to help keep the sand clean by bringing their trash home for disposal.
Unless they are eating, drinking or in the ocean, beachgoers must wear face masks, according to current protocols established by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. They should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from people who are not in their households.
While beachgoers may bring up to 10 members of their own households to the beach, gatherings between members of two or more households are still prohibited.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of following the public health guidelines,” DBH Director Gary Jones said. “It is absolutely imperative that beachgoers avoid crowds. If the beaches get too crowded, we may be forced to close them again.”
Grills, personal fire pits and bonfires are not allowed at any beach or in any beach parking lot. Debris from illegal bonfires on the sand is not only toxic to marine life; it is also difficult to clean up. Smoldering fires buried in the sand pose high risks of serious burns and other injuries to unsuspecting beachgoers.
Debris from illegal fires isn’t the only thing polluting the sand. Beachgoers also have left a significant amount of trash littering the beaches and ocean this summer.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to “pack in, pack out,” especially throughout September, which is Coastal Cleanup Month. That means bringing everything they brought to the beach back home with them—including their garbage. Most of DBH’s beach maintenance crews are assigned to clean and sanitize the County’s 52 beach restroom facilities along the coast as often as six times per day due to COVID-19, leaving fewer resources to address beach trash. DBH staff and County Goodwill Ambassadors will be handing out trash bags to visitors over the Labor Day weekend at some of the County’s largest beaches, including Dockweiler, Will Rogers and Zuma.
Uncontained trash can end up in the ocean, where it can kill marine life. Overflowing trash bins also attract seagulls that scatter the trash all over the sand DBH stressed in a press release Friday.
“We’re asking the beach-going public to help us protect our precious marine environment by taking more personal responsibility for disposing of their own trash,” Jones said.