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Heat wave stresses grid, causes outages throughout Southern California

The holiday heat wave is taking a toll on the region’s power grid, with more than 90,000 Southern California Edison and LA Department of Water and Power customers without power early Monday, Sept. 7, and electricity for some not expected to be restored until Tuesday.

The DWP reported at 9 p.m. Sunday that its crews had restored power to 77,000 customers since the extreme heat storm started causing problems on Saturday. But crews were still working to restore power to some 70,000 customers by repairing overheated and overloaded distribution equipment.

The neighborhoods most affected by the power outages included Highland Park, with 12,000 customers; Mid-Wilshire, with 5,100; Sylmar, with 4,500; and Studio City, with 3,700.

The DWP warned some customers might be without electricity for 24 to 48 hours.

By early Monday, SCE reported 411 outages on its website affecting 20,991 Los Angeles County customers and 84 outages in Orange County affecting 2,630 customers.

There were 2,179 customers without power in unincorporated Los Angeles County, 277 in San Gabriel, 600 in South Gate, 250 in Whittier and 641 in Pomona.

In Orange County, 499 customers were affected in Buena Park, 277 in La Habra and 272 in Garden Grove.

The DWP urged people to set air conditioners to 78-82 degrees and to avpide dping laundry or running heavy appliances.

To report outages: 1-800-342-5397 or

Gov. Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, highlighted a number of steps to free up energy capacity.

“California has always been the canary in the coal mine for climate change, and this weekend’s events only underscore that reality,” Newsom said. “Wildfires have caused system failures, while near record energy demand is predicted as a multi-state heat wave hits the West Coast for the second time in a matter of weeks.”

The state, Newsom said, has already taken the following actions to free up capacity:

  • Working with large commercial and public energy consumers to shift their energy usage away from peak hours;
  • Ramping up appeals to Californians to flex their power, pre-cool their homes before noon and conserve energy from 3 p.m. onward;
  • Partnering with third party energy producers to bring back-up energy generation resources online, from the State Water Project to DWP and the state’s investor-owned utilities;
  • Asking the Navy and commercial ports to use on-ship electrical generation instead of pulling resources away from the grid.

At about 6 p.m. Sunday, the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state’s bulk electric power system and its utility companies, declared a Stage 2 Emergency, announcing its operators were “taking all the steps to protect the grid, manage transmission loss and avoid outages.”

A Stage 2 Emergency means “the CA ISO has taken all mitigating actions and is no longer able to provide its expected energy requirements. A Stage 2 warning requires ISO intervention in the market, such as ordering power plants online,” according to the agency’s website.

The Stage 2 Emergency was lifted just after 9 p.m. However, the flex alert will continue from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday.

Temperatures set new records around Southern California Sunday, including 121 degrees at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, which broke a 2006 record of 119; Van Nuys hit 118 degrees, breaking a record of 117 set in 2018; and the high of 114 degrees at Burbank Airport tied a previous record set Saturday.

An excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service will be in effect until 8 p.m. Monday in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains, Santa Catalina Island, and the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, San Gabriel and Antelope valleys, as well as Orange County..

Cooling centers will be open throughout the weekend in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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Source: Orange County Register

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