California Asks Residents to Cut Energy for Fifth Time This Year as Heat Waves Plague State

Californians are once again being asked to conserve energy as a blistering heat wave squeezes the Golden State's power grid.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued its fifth Flex Alert of the year on Monday due to wildfires and high temperatures across the Pacific Northwest.

Consumers have been encouraged to voluntarily cut as much electricity as possible between peak hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Energy-saving actions residents should take include setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoiding the use of major appliances and turning off all unnecessary lights.

Areas in southwest California are expected to experience triple-digit temperatures on Monday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Antelope Valley and Cuyama Valley could see temperatures as high as 115 degrees, while Santa Barbara and Ventura could face temperatures between 100 and 109 degrees.

The NWS has advised residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room and out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors during the extreme heat.

California's Office of Emergency Services also has an updated statewide list of cooling centers available to residents amid the heat wave.

Power grids are also being impacted by the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, which exploded in size over the weekend and has now burned more than 153,000 acres. Power supplies to the California ISO territory, which covers about 80 percent of the state, have been reduced by as much as 3,500 megawatts because of the blaze.

There are also two active wildfires burning in California—the River Fire and Tumbleweed—according to the state's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). The River Fire in Mariposa County has burned 4,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained. Tumbleweed is 95 percent contained and has burned less than 1,000 acres in Los Angeles County.

California Asks Residents to Voluntarily Cut Energy
An aerial image shows solar panels part of an electricity generation plant on June 18, 2021 in Kern County near Mojave, California. The California ISO extended another Flex Alert on Monday asking customers to conserve electricity amid concerns of power outages during the heat wave. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Residents have been asked five times this summer to voluntarily conserve energy amid historically high temperatures. The California ISO has issued Flex Alerts on June 17, June 18, July 9, July 10 and July 12.

The ISO, the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission said on July 1 they would work together to procure additional power capacity again this year. The ISO used this authority during last summer's regional heat waves.

"Summer has barely begun and we have already had repeated extreme heat events creating dangerous conditions and shattering records across the country," the agencies said in a joint statement. "Climate change is here and with increasing intensity that presents a host of new challenges we must collectively meet head-on."

Newsweek has reached out to Governor Gavin Newsom's office for comment but didn't receive a response before publication.