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California’s electric grid operator warns of possible rolling blackouts

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On Tuesday, California’s electric grid operator sent out an emergency call of immediate energy conservation and cautioned that surging demand for power may lead to rolling blackouts as the Californians continue to deal with the day-on-day scorching heat.

Around 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a level 3 alert, which is the highest-level energy emergency alert before rolling blackouts are actually enforced. The alert will stay in effect until 8pm (PT), ISO confirmed.

“The ISO is anticipating high loads and temperatures across the CASISO grid,” the grid operator said in its alert. “CAISO is forecasting an energy deficiency with all available resources in use for the specified time period. Maximum conservation efforts are urged.”

Elliot Mainzer, who is President and chief executive officer of the California Independent System Operator, made a statement during a press conference on Saturday.

“Those last few days are likely to be a dress rehearsal for what’s going to be a much more significantly stressed set of conditions here,” said Mainzer.

He stressed that residents’ compliance with the alert is critical to ensuring there are no blackouts. “That response can be the difference between the light staying on or not,” Mainzer said.

California has so far managed to stave off widespread rolling blackouts, however Gov. Gavin Newsom warned in a statement late on Tuesday “we aren’t out of the woods yet. We will see continued extreme temps this week.”

“Following another day of record heat on Tuesday from California to the central High Plains, expect sizzling temperatures to stick around through mid-week,” the National Weather Service warned in a forecast early Wednesday.

The National Weather Service confirmed that the highest temperature recorded so far was 117°F in Ukiah.

California’s Department of Cannabis Control pleaded with all cannabis businesses to turn off their lights and power or to alternative use a backup generator.

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