Flex Alert issued for California on Friday as heat wave arrives

Residents and businesses across the state are being asked to reduce their energy consumption between the hours of 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With several days of extremely hot temperatures in the forecast, a statewide Flex Alert calling for Californians to voluntarily turn off their lights and help conserve electricity was issued for Friday.

In light of the anticipated heat, the state's power grid operator is predicting an increase in the demand for electricity, "primarily from residential air conditioning use,' according to the California Independent System Operator.

Residents and businesses are being asked to reduce their energy consumption between the hours of 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday.

"If there is enough consumer participation then it will prevent us from having to put in place some of the more severe measures we use for energy shortfalls, including rotating power outages," said Anne F. Gonzales with the California ISO.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Saturday and Sunday in the Central Valley. The hottest days of the summer are coming up, and temperatures are expected to near 110 degrees in the next 10 days.

This is the first flex alert of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept people at home using energy more than ever.

"So we do understand that this poses new and difficult challenges," said Gonzales.

Places once sought after to cool down, like indoor malls and movie theaters, are closed.

But businesses like Colton's Social House in Clovis are keeping their cool, even under a mandate by the state to operate outdoors only.

RELATED: Cooling centers open as Central Valley temps reach triple-digits

The restaurant claims it has the coolest patio in the Valley with their newly installed misters on their makeshift patio with 20 swamp coolers throughout, almost one per table.

"They think, 'Oh it's going to be too hot', and then they sit down and we actually even sometimes get comments that it is a little too cold. They want their cooler moved away from them because they are getting so much cool air," says co-owner Brit Collins Dean.

But that kind of comfort came at a cost.

Owners say lunches and dinners have not slowed down since they moved outside, so the upgrades paid off.

Now the focus is on keeping staff hydrated and healthy in extreme heat.

"..That we are still running the air conditioning inside, that they are still getting some cooldown time because they are working really hard running from indoor to outdoor constantly," says Dean.

Here are some energy conservation tips:
  • Set thermostat to 78 degrees or higher and turn it off when you're not home

  • Cool with fans and close drapes

  • Turn off unnecessary lights and appliances

  • Use major appliances in the morning or late evening

  • ISO officials say these measures can help lighten the strain on the power grid and avoid any power interruptions.
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