High Temperatures Prompt Call For Energy Conservation

June 11, 2019 17:32 pm · 37 comments

High temperatures and high energy demand in California has prompted a call for energy conservation Tuesday by the California Independent System Operator Corporation, which helps maintain power in the state.

The corporation has issued a Flex Alert to ask people to voluntarily conserve electricity from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Residents and visitors are urged to set their thermostat at 78 degrees or higher and turn it off when away. People are asked to cool with fans and drapes, turn off unnecessary lights and appliances and use larger appliances in the morning or late in the evening.

Yves Harlowe June 11, 2019 at 5:39 PM

Here’s an idea – how about PGE figure out how to provide needed electricity? They’re a power company, right? Instead, on hot afternoons when people need their AC, we’re told to increase the setting or shut it off. If it’s off during the day when at work, then it has to work that much harder to cool the house off. It’s crazy.

Cellophane June 11, 2019 at 6:14 PM

The people who are under the poorly managed and for-profit monopoly called PG&E are simply being robbed.

We pay higher rates than just about anyone anywhere and the service is astoundingly substandard when compared to adequately managed public energy utilities elsewhere.

The California Public Utilities Commission is feckless.

The State Government is corrupt.

PG&E answers to shareholders while CA ratepayers suffer and/or perish.

The solution is clear.

Bubbles June 11, 2019 at 9:39 PM

Sadly a lot of people have died from the poor choices and profits of PG$E.

Pat June 12, 2019 at 10:32 AM

And their employees make astronomical amounts in pay, benefits/pension, their own discounted PG&E bills…

jon s June 11, 2019 at 6:19 PM

78 degrees?In other words,dont use your air conditioner.?Wont work for anglos,sorry for the news.Unlike some residents of Concord that need to wear a jacket if they go into a store with good air conditioning.I rented a room from these kind of people and they literally cried when they came home and I had the AC on.

Kirkwood June 12, 2019 at 9:13 AM

jon s – Obviously you need to do a better job of screening your potential landlords.

Original G June 11, 2019 at 6:53 PM

CA used to have peaker power plants to handle peak power demands on hot days.

Here is one of the actions democrat super majority state legislature took.
“California lawmakers passed SB 338, which would mandate that utilities develop carbon-free alternatives to gas generation for meeting peak demand in their integrated resource plans.”
https://www.utilitydive.com/news/california-regulators-edge-away-from-gas-peaker-plants/506358/

Did their actions cause providers to have to buy needed electricity at higher spot prices ? ? ? ?
Are not CA utility prices already some of the highest in thee country ? ? ?

Mo June 11, 2019 at 7:04 PM

But let’s continue to build more houses….

Michael June 11, 2019 at 7:32 PM

Strange how SoCal is a desert but they don’t have these flex alerts.

Michael June 11, 2019 at 7:36 PM

Dolf!!!! I stand corrected SoCal issued one on Friday.

WC June 11, 2019 at 7:57 PM

Praise the green people and the idiots in Sacramento for mandating all the solar and wind energy which is deficient when the heat goes up.

Kirkwood June 12, 2019 at 9:19 AM

Time to fire up those windmills! 🙂

Sean June 11, 2019 at 8:10 PM

What about all the people who have solar? Doesn’t that help?

Yves Harlowe June 12, 2019 at 7:45 AM

I doubt it produces enough to really take up the slack. And when the power goes out, you can’t use it to power your own home.

Mary Fouts June 12, 2019 at 12:29 PM

Solar is still very expensive, looked into it and it didn’t even come close to being financially prudent with our electricity usage. The Internet is filled with complaints from people who had it installed, only to either have it not work correctly, or to not provide nearly as much power as promised. The panels also become less efficient over time, and must be kept clean. I’ve never seen a homeowner/worker on a roof or other installation area cleaning solar panels.

And as for the supposed very long guarantees/warranties from the manufacturer and installer … How many of these businesses will still exist 10 years from now?

One home in my neighborhood with solar panels re-roofed this spring. Did not re-install the solar panels on the new roof.

Yves Harlowe June 11, 2019 at 8:53 PM

Power went out around 6 and is still out. I’m sure we can look forward to more of this this summer.

Bubbles June 11, 2019 at 9:37 PM

I don’t get all this brown out stuff. So many people have solar now and homes are more and more efficient now. How is there still such a problem? I’m sure it’s just PG&E Drama and more $$$$$ from us all.

Steven Powers June 11, 2019 at 9:39 PM

I remember going to my grandfathers house … in the summer it was cool and winter it was warm. He said I did not work my whole life to not be comfortable

ClayDen June 11, 2019 at 10:46 PM

And don’t charge your electric car that we (the taxpayers) subsidized for you. If you can’t get to work tomorrow, oh well.

BTW, you’re welcome. NOT.

Bob June 11, 2019 at 11:11 PM

You know who never has these problems?

Nuclear power customers.

Tom June 12, 2019 at 7:44 AM

True about nuclear power. In the right location away from earthquake faults and tsunamis, with sufficient safety redundancies, it’s the most Earth friendly and sustainable way to produce energy. We just have to overcome our irrational fear of it.

So I live in SoCal now. It’s not actually a desert, FYI, and most of the population lives relatively near the coast, so we in San Diego have had more tolerable temps than you guys in Contra Costa. On top of that, many of the older homes near the coast don’t even have AC. When it does get hot like that, though, which is not often, we can have these flex alerts too. We just tend to not get triple digits nearly as often, and the hotter inland areas are not as heavily populated. That’s why it’s less of a problem, but it’s still a problem. And our electricity is even more expensive than yours!

I recommend people get solar and bypass all this BS. You want more AC on not days, not less.

Yves Harlowe June 12, 2019 at 8:22 AM

Unfortunately, California has decided we can’t have nuclear, but we must have wind and solar and is pushing for 100% renewables and no nuclear. We can look forward to more blackouts.

Yves Harlowe June 12, 2019 at 8:46 AM

Tom – if you get solar, you’ll need battery storage in order to use the power when there are outages. You can’t use the solar power otherwise during outages.

Anon June 12, 2019 at 10:59 AM

This is a fast one that the Solar companies pulled on people, solar systems do not operate as stand alone systems and require the Grid power in order to work.
Stand alone would require an isolation switch from the Grid and a different inverter, or maybe the Inverters already have that capability.

S June 12, 2019 at 11:53 AM

@Anon, I was at a workshop put on by a non-profit about building energy efficient or green. they shared that for home purposes, solar was not cost effective in the least. all total, solar costs more…

Silva June 12, 2019 at 12:03 PM

Yves Harlowe, nobody has those batteries, BTW. They cost an absolute fortune.

Substation Engr June 12, 2019 at 7:29 AM

A few comments…..

1. Read up on the history of utility deregulation in the US and in California – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis.

2. Look at the supply/demand curves on the CAISO web page – http://www.caiso.com. Note that the CAISO has responsibility for managing the flow of electricity on the transmission system (approx. 80 percent of California’s grid and a small part of Nevada’s grid).

3. The political and regulatory climates in California do not support building new generation in a timely manner. Has anyone on this blog had to deal with the multiple federal, state and local agencies, as well as the NGOs to even get a substation installed – let alone a generating plant. It’s not a matter of “just build another power plant.”

4. New generation – The state’s regulations are requiring relying entirely on zero-emission energy sources for its electricity by the year 2045. The shutdown of Diablo Canyon in another 5-6 years will result in the loss of ~2200MW; because of the reduction in natural gas-fired generation, no more peaking plants are allowed. PG&E is also looking at decommissioning hydro plants because of the cost to operate the old plants. All of this is available on multiple web sites – FERC, CAISO, CEC, CPUC, etc… you just have to know where to look to find that public information.

5. The “green new deal” stuff being pushed by Ocasio-Cortez and a number of others is simply not doable – unless you’re willing to sacrifice some comforts. The solar on houses helps a tiny bit – but the increase in population more than offsets the increased generation. Also, solar isn’t much good at night or in inclement weather.

6. Electric cars? Although those will reduce the dependence on fossil fuels in the near term, the laws don’t address the cost of power to charge the vehicles, nor do they address the disposal/reclamation of heavy metals being used in the batteries.

7. PG&E, as the “provider of last resort” has to buy power if the load in its territory exceeds its own generation. That’s assuming other neighboring utilities have power available to sell.

8. Efficiency of houses? Yes, those have improved – but that isn’t keeping pace with the increase in population.

I used to do consulting engineering for companies within California – but the cost for permitting/designing/constructing of new generation and substations just outweighs the benefits…and that’s not even addressing the “profits.”

While I certainly don’t agree with how PG&E has been managed in the recent past, the customers need to understand the entire picture.

And that’s why I don’t live in California any more. Good luck this summer.

Yves Harlowe June 12, 2019 at 8:40 AM

Thanks for pointing these things out. I’ve been aware of much of what you listed, and know that just building more plants isn’t going to happen. I wonder if people will get fed up with unreliable power, or will just sit quietly and accept it because, you know, renewables.

It will be really interesting to see the effect on the grid as new building codes requiring Net Zero buildings go into effect and more electricity will be used for space and water heating. PGE can’t keep up with demand now.

We’re shopping for generators.

Substation Engr June 12, 2019 at 12:11 PM

The other concern I have is transmission system stability. In the past, the bulk electric system (BES) provided the stability when small amounts of distributed generation were connected; but now, the reduction in large generators (and increase in small distributed generation with the lack of appropriate protective relaying) results in a system that may not be stiff enough to protect against cascading blackouts. The “smart grid” (faster control) will help alleviate that – but only to a degree.

Too often, people don’t understand the electric system – their knowledge is limited to “plug it in, switch it on, it works”…. there’s a hell of a lot more to it than that.

Unfortunately, the politicians are not interested in the facts. But Mother Nature and basic physics will outsmart all of them. I doubt that people will get fed up with reliability, because they’re not willing to understand the basics – too much information to digest and, frankly, they’re just not interested in something that’s not trendy.

I expect that all they’ll do is scream and shout “something, SOMETHING must be done”, and then they’ll point fingers – and nothing will be done. Unfortunately, the beancounters, lawyers, hedge fund managers and others of that ilk are at the senior management level of many of those utilities, leaving the engineers out of the loop – as opposed to how it was handled up through the 1980’s….

Just wait and see. And get yourself a good backup generator, rotate your fuel and buy Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer…..

And please do it safely.

Concordian June 12, 2019 at 7:52 AM

Most cities in CCC now offer MCE as a choice to PRE. More energy from renewables and an option to use 100% renewable and get off the fossil fuel addiction. Yet just yesterday city government in Concord voted not to opt up their facilities (3-2 vote you can likely guess who). The solutions are out there.

WC June 12, 2019 at 1:23 PM

So do the people who opt for 100% renewable have their power go out first when the grid overloads? That’s the way it should be.

Substation Engr June 12, 2019 at 4:04 PM

All generators are connected into the grid, and all customers are connected to the grid (at different voltages). Think of it as a bunch of streams going into a lake…and you pump water out of the lake. You don’t know that the water you pumped out came from that one particular stream….. unless you had another pipe connected directly to it.

Since there are hundreds of customers connected on a single circuit, an overload on that circuit will cut power to all customers on that line (except, of course, for faults which may blow a fuse at the transformer and cut power to fewer customers).

As far as MCE and the rest of the community choice aggregators – you’re paying extra for energy from a clean source that the CCA is buying; but it doesn’t mean that the electricity generated by that “clean” source is going to you and you only.

WC – the only way 100% renewable power customers would have their power go out first is to have a dedicated circuit back to the generator – wherever that is…

Yves Harlowe June 12, 2019 at 1:49 PM

The power may be unreliable, but at least it’s expensive.

Original G June 12, 2019 at 6:24 PM

Amazing that people actually trust progressive liberal democrats running this state. People that couldn’t ensure management when it came to building not even a whole bridge but just half a bridge across the bay. Less An in overseeing construction of a supposed high speed rail system.

‘Ten Years Late/$5 Billion Over Budget—Bay Bridge Riddled With Problems’
http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/ten-years-late5-billion-over-budget-bay-bridge-riddled-with-problems/

‘New bullet train plan delays opening of the first leg by three years’
https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-plan-20160304-story.html
‘Doing the math on California’s bullet train fares’
https://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-adv-bullet-fares-20150510-story.html
‘Uncertain funding, rising costs and long delays — just another day for California high-speed rail ‘
https://www.ocregister.com/2017/02/26/uncertain-funding-rising-costs-and-long-delays-just-another-day-for-california-high-speed-rail/
‘California’s High-Speed Rail: Slow, Expensive, and Bound for Cancellation’
https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/01/california-high-speed-rail-unworkable-money-pit/

The Mamba June 13, 2019 at 8:31 AM

What do we live in a third world country now? Why does energy cost so much? You owe me money, PG&E.

Yves harlowe June 13, 2019 at 9:41 AM

With the bum tent cities strewing trash, human waste and needles, and medeival diseases now cropping up, and unreliable electricity, yes, I’d say we’re heading for third world status. And we pay a lot for the privilege of living in this mess.

Electricity is so expensive because of the renewables. It costs a lot to have an unreliable power supply and save the plant.

Substation Engr June 13, 2019 at 10:12 AM

Ask the CPUC and do the research…..

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