Californians Brace for Electricity Cuts as Temperatures Soar to Triple Digits

California residents are preparing to conserve power amid a heat wave, and an energy shortage alert may be imminent to prevent rolling blackouts.

Much of the state's power grid is run by the California Independent System Operator (ISO), a nonprofit that monitors the grid's supply.

"Based on what we're seeing now, we don't expect any rotating power outages for this week. Supplies will be tight in the evenings for the next several days, but our market is expected to make up any difference between demand and supply, and we currently predict enough reserves on hand to cover demand," the ISO said in a statement.

The ISO's projections make blackouts unlikely for the coming week, but the company is still asking Californians to conserve as much energy in their homes as possible in case a Flex Alert is called.

A Flex Alert is used in California when the ISO anticipates an energy shortage. The alert is typically triggered by extreme heat in the summer months that drives up the use of air conditioners, but it can also be used in the event of transmission line fires and unexpected outages, according to the ISO.

Temperatures across California are expected to surpass 100 degrees in some areas. Low-desert areas like Coachella Valley are expected to reach up to 120 degrees throughout the week. Los Angeles is expected to be in the 100s as well. Coastal cities are expected to be in the high 80s and 90s, unusually hot for these areas, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Power Lines in California
The sun sets behind power lines in Rosemead, California, on June 14, amid an early-season heat wave across much of California this week. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The ISO released a heat bulletin on Wednesday morning to help Californians navigate the heat wave. The company said it does not plan to issue a Flex Alert Wednesday, but it has issued some preparatory guidelines for the state.

To prepare for a possible Flex Alert in the coming days, Californians should be setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoiding the use of major appliances and turning off unnecessary lights, according to the bulletin.

A Flex Alert would ask Californians to conserve power between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., during hours that natural energy resources are not available. The ISO also listed steps that residents can currently take to be comfortable in their homes during the heatwave, given that a Flex Alert has not been issued.

The following advice was issued by the ISO's heat bulletin to prepare Californians for a Flex Alert:

"Pre-cool your home or apartment by lowering the thermostat, use major appliances, like your dishwasher and clothes washer and dryer, close window coverings to keep your home or apartment cool, charge electronic devices [and] charge electric vehicles," the bulletin said.

"If a Flex Alert is called this week, consumer conservation can make a big difference, as it has during past heat waves when such concerted action helped avoid grid emergencies, including rotating outages," the ISO said.

Newsweek reached out to the ISO for comment but did not hear back before publication.