Days ago, officials in California unveiled a plan to phase out new gas-powered cars. Now, officials are asking residents to avoid charging their electric vehicles in the interest of not overwhelming the power grid.
The western United States is facing a likely “prolonged and record heat wave” that could lead to temperatures as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service. As a result, the California Independent System Operator is seeking to bring all available resources online to handle higher electricity demand and expects to issue “voluntary energy conservation” notices over the Labor Day weekend.
“The top three conservation actions are to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turn off unnecessary lights,” according to the American Public Power Association. During a “Flex Alert,” residents are encouraged to reduce energy consumption from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm — the hours in which “demand for electricity remains high and there is less solar energy available.”
California also experienced a round of blackouts during last year’s Labor Day weekend. The state issued Flex Alerts because grid operators predicted “an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use” related to extreme temperatures.