Flex Alert: Tracker shows how close we are to overloading the power grid

ByAlix Martichoux KFSN logo
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Bay Area heat wave: Tips for saving power during a Flex Alert
EMBED <>More Videos

Here are some of the most efficient ways to save power during a Flex Alert.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the brunt of Central California's heat wave moves in on Thursday, Cal ISO has issued a Flex Alert, asking Californians to conserve energy to avoid overloading the grid.

RELATED: PG&E crews preparing for increase in electricity demand during heat wave

Cal ISO, or the California Independent System Operator, oversees the state's power grid and infrastructure. In the afternoon hours on hot days, when most people are running air conditioners and high-energy appliances, power use is highest, putting the most pressure on California's infrastructure.

The agency created a real-time tracker that shows how close we are to that tipping point.

The available capacity for the state is about 50,000 megawatts. On Thursday, we're forecasted to peak at 43,331.

RELATED: Hot weather forces cancellations of several Central Valley events

As of 9 a.m., demand was only around 29,000 megawatts. That number is expected to climb as temperatures heat up.

A screenshot shows how demand compared to overall power grid capacity as of 1:20 p.m. on June 17, 2021.
A screenshot shows how demand compared to overall power grid capacity as of 1:20 p.m. on June 17, 2021.
Screenshot / Cal ISO

See how current demand compares to our maximum capacity by viewing Cal ISO's tracker.

If demand on the grid if expected to exceed capacity, the state sometimes triggers rolling blackouts to conserve energy, as they did in the late summer of 2020.

It's supposed to stay hot through Friday, but Thursday is expected to be the hottest day of the week.


RELATED: Heat stroke vs heat exhaustion: What's the difference and what are the symptoms?

RELATED: Tips for staying safe during a heat wave as the temperature rises

RELATED: Cooling centers open in the Central Valley amid heat wave

RELATED: Can you start a fire if you leave bottled water in your car?

RELATED: Facts and myths about sunscreen