Take Actions to Reduce Your Electricity Use
August 2020 Heat Wave
In August 2020, California experienced a heat wave and subsequent rotating outages. On this page you will find information about the rotating outages and tips to reduce energy use.
- Nov. 19, 2020: CPUC Acts to Establish Policies and Procedures for Ensuring Grid Reliability During Extreme Weather Events
- Oct. 6, 2020: CAISO, CPUC, and CEC Issue Preliminary Report on Causes of August Rotating Outages
- Sept. 4, 2020: CPUC President’s Letter to Utilities Regarding Conservation
- Sept. 4, 2020: CPUC Letter to Utilities on Emergency Action to Combat Heatwave
- Aug. 27, 2020: CPUC Acts to Ensure Electricity Reliability Through Supply and New Technologies
- Aug. 19, 2020: CPUC, CAISO, and CEC Response Letter to Governor Newsom
- Aug. 16, 2020: CPUC President’s Letter to Utilities Regarding Conservation
- Utility Rotating Outage Information
- Cooling Centers
Tips to Reduce Energy Use
Below are actions you can take to reduce your electricity use, especially during peak hours from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Keep your lights off to the extent safely possible, including exterior lights that may be on a timer.
- Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, health permitting, and turn your air conditioner off when not at home. Move any furniture blocking vents to be sure air is flowing efficiently.
- Charge your laptop and cell phone before 3 p.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Hang dry your clothes instead of using your dryer.
- Unplug energy vampires when not in use, such as televisions, game consoles, and standby coffee makers.
- Use a fan(s) instead of your air conditioner.
- Cover your windows to keep sunlight from heating your home.
- Cook using your stove, microwave, or outside grill instead of your oven.
- Limit opening your refrigerator and freezer.
About Rotating Outages
If the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), state’s electricity grid operator, determines that the state does not have enough electricity generation resources to meet demand, it will call a Flex Alert, which is a call for consumers to voluntarily conserve electricity when there is a predicted shortage of energy supply, especially if the grid operator needs to use reserves for grid integrity. When consumers reduce electricity use at critical times, it can prevent more dire emergency measures, including possible power outages.
The CAISO may also require the state’s investor-owned utilities to reduce demand on the grid, which may be accomplished by turning off power to customers. Typically customers would be without power for an hour.
If this occurs, please keep in mind:
- This is different from a utility Public Safety Power Shutoff event in that the outage would not be long-term.
- Check in on neighbors/friends/ family who are older/disabled that rely on power, making sure to socially distance.
- Individuals with access and functional needs can reach out to their local (city/county/tribal) emergency managers to identify where cooling centers are located.
- Prepare to be without power for a few hours by charging devices such as laptops and cell phones, avoiding the peak hours of 3 p.m.-10 p.m.