Record-breaking heat proving to be taxing for California electrical grid

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Around 5,000 were without power in Clovis and Fresno yesterday, and over 100,000 were also powerless in the Bay Area. PG&E says the problem isn't a lack of power, but it's the record-breaking heat that's stressing equipment. (KFSN)

After Sunday's massive statewide power outage, Monday started off with far fewer problems.

Some Central Valley businesses are still trying to tally the losses after a painfully hot and expensive Father's Day outage. So far the problem has not been a shortage of electricity. It's primarily equipment failures due to extreme heat, and it's proving to be a pricey problem for some businesses.

For nearly six hours Sunday, Rod Lichti helplessly scrambled to get a backup generator while his freezer and frozen treats were defrosting at Chosen Yogurt in Northeast Fresno.

"In here was ice cream sandwiches, some large ice cream cakes and also all the quarts that we sell the ice cream," he said looking at the freezer.

Heavy insulation in large yogurt machines provided enough chill to keep it from melting, but the ice cream case was a concern. The deep freezer saved most of the unsealed tubs, but those ready to serve were softening with each passing hour.

Even worse, the holiday is usually a big money maker, especially when it's blazing hot outside.

"Father's Day evening 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. is my prime time," Lichti said. "So, I lost basically a full day of business."

Next door at Food 4 Less, the outage prompted the grocery manager to throw out the first row of milk just in case it got too warm.

Electrical outages left 2,000 customers in northeast Fresno alone sweating.

The problem wasn't only in the Central Valley. In northern California, 113,000 homes and business in the Bay Area were left powerless.

The problem isn't a lack of power; it's the heat stressing equipment.

"That's not the issue that we have," Denny Boyles with PG&E said. "It's not the amount of electricity available, it's just in some cases, the grid is a mechanical thing. It doesn't matter how much maintenance you do or how much you've updated the equipment, there's just going to be times a piece of equipment fails and that's what we saw yesterday."

On Monday, the California Independent System Operator encouraged Californians to continue conserving. Energy experts expect the most challenging day on the power grid so far will be Tuesday.

The afternoon is the most stressful for the equipment when most people leave their work and office and head home to crank up the air conditioner.

Related Topics:
weatherfresnoPG&Epower outageFresnoClovis
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