Power outages possible in parts of Solano, Yolo counties this weekend


A Pacific Gas & Electric Company utility truck. (File photo by Matthew Keys for Solano NewsNet)

The Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) has warned local officials that the utility may implement temporary power outages in parts of Solano County and Yolo County this weekend due to the upcoming heat wave, according to two people familiar with the situation.

The information was provided to local officials earlier this week by a PG&E government liaison, who said rotating brownouts were possible if electrical use caused significant strain on the power grid during periods of excessive heat.

The warning comes as local residents throughout interior Northern California brace for several days of triple-digit temperatures during the Labor Day holiday weekend. The National Weather Service office in Sacramento has issued an Excessive Heat Warning that begins Saturday morning and lasts through next Monday evening.

According to sources familiar with the warning, a PG&E liaison said rotating brownouts were possible between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on days when a "Flex Alert" is issued by the California Independent System Operator (ISO). During a Flex Alert, residents and businesses are asked to reduce their electrical use in order to prevent strain on the energy grid.

If energy use exceeds capacity or causes strain, the liaison said PG&E might implement one-hour rotating brownouts, most likely between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. when energy demand is at its highest, the sources said.

It was not clear if PG&E had identified specific areas of Solano County or Yolo County for potential brownouts. A PG&E spokesperson has not returned a request seeking additional information.

This week, California ISO has issued at least two Flex Alerts asking residents to conserve their electrical use. The first Flex Alert took effect on Wednesday; another alert was issued Thursday. Both alerts covered the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

A third Flex Alert has been issued for Friday between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., and additional alerts are likely to be issued during the holiday weekend.

During a Flex Alert, California ISO encourages residents and businesses to set their thermostats at or above 78 degrees; avoid using major appliances like stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers; and turn off lights that are not needed.

California ISO publishes a real-time dashboard that shows current and anticipated electrical demand throughout the state, as well as the state's current electrical capacity. The dashboard can be accessed by clicking or tapping here.

PG&E customers who agree to reduce their energy use during a Flex Alert can receive a discount in the form of a bill credit when they enroll in the free Power Saving Rewards Program. Customers of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs like Valley Clean Energy can also participate in PG&E's Power Saving Reward Program. To enroll in the program, click or tap here.

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