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Threat of rolling blackouts in California passes — for now

The California Independent System Operator said no power blackouts were expected Monday night, but outages could still happen over the next two days.
Image: California, US-HEAT-POWER-OUTAGE
The downtown skyline as seen behind high-tension towers from the East Fourth Street Bridge along the Los Angeles River in Los Angeles on Sunday.Apu Gomes / AFP - Getty Images

California's Independent System Operator said Monday night that no rolling blackouts were expected amid a heat wave that is baking the state.

The ISO, which manages most of the state's electric flow, said in a statement that no "rotating power outages" were anticipated Monday night thanks to cooler than expected weather and efforts at power conservation. The Stage 2 Emergency was canceled at 7:30 p.m.

Earlier, California ISO CEO and President Steve Berberich said the state was short about 4,400 megawatts, which equates to about 3.3 million homes. It would have ordered utilities to shed their power loads to take strain off the grid, but the ISO said that demand came in lower than forecast.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an emergency proclamation Monday that allows some users and utilities to use "backup energy sources" during peak times.

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There is still a "flex alert" from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Wednesday and customers are being asked to conserve power, the ISO said.

"This heat storm is not over, and we still expect exceedingly hot temperatures tomorrow and Wednesday. With continued help from California residents in conserving energy, much like today, we can reduce the risk of power outages," Berberich said in a statement Monday night.

"Because of high heat and limited energy supplies, rotating power outages still are likely over the next two days," the ISO said in the statement.

The California ISO issued a Stage 3 power emergency alert Friday. The alert ordered the first rolling outages in the state in nearly 20 years.

Power was cut to 410,000 homes and businesses Friday for about an hour at a time by three of the state's largest utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric, NBC Bay Area reported.

San Diego Gas and Electric issued a statement Monday urging customers to conserve energy as weather conditions could force more widespread outages in the coming days.

"The heatwave is forecasted to continue through Thursday, and CAISO is anticipating a significant shortfall in energy supply needed to meet the exceptionally high energy demand," the statement said.

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Newsom sent a letter dated Monday to the California ISO and the California Energy Commission requesting an investigation.

"Residents, communities and other governmental organizations did not receive sufficient warning that these de-energizations could occur," Newsom wrote. "Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians. This cannot stand. California residents and businesses deserve better from their government."

Flex alerts were issued through Wednesday asking residents to be vigilant in conserving energy around their homes through simple actions like turning off unnecessary lights and appliances, as well as setting air conditioner thermostats at about 78 degrees or higher.