SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA ̵
According to Pacific Gas and Electric, the state-owned network operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), has asked customers to save electricity by 11 p.m. on Friday because the grid is busy.
Other utilities across the state have been asked to take the same steps, PG&E said.
The utility began shutting down power during rotating failures under the direction of CAISO. By 11 p.m., PG&E announced that power had been restored to 220,000 affected customers. Some customers ran out of electricity due to separate heat issues, the utility said.
The outages can last up to an hour for each block, the utility said. However, KTVU’s Tom Vacar said he experienced an outage for more than two hours. Due to the nature of the emergency, PG&E said customers would not receive advance notice of possible outages.
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The company updated the situation on Friday evening, saying the evening’s initial rotating outages helped stabilize the network. They said they would work to fully restore power to the customer by 11 p.m. The utility said they are not planning any new outages for Friday night.
CAISO said they will decide whether to continue rolling outages on a daily basis if the heatwave continues, likely by the middle of next week.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m., the network operator declared a level 3 electrical emergency, in which demand has increased significantly. Rolling power outages have not been ordered in the state since 2011.
“Extreme heat is really the driver behind it,” said Anne Gonzales, spokeswoman for the electricity network operator.
The rotating failures are not to be confused with the public safety shutdowns that occur as a preventative measure during the main fire season.
“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is the primary responsibility of PG&E. We urge our customers to take immediate action to reduce their electricity consumption. We will work to restore power safely and as quickly as possible, ”said Michael Lewis, Interim President of PG&E.
While a stage emergency is a significant inconvenience to those affected by power outages, it is more beneficial to use controlled action than to allow it to cause widespread and prolonged disruption.
Cloudy weather, the remains of a tropical weather system, reduced electricity generation from solar panels, Gonzales said.
There are two major power outages in the cities of San Rafael and San Mateo on Friday evening.
The police in San Rafael and San Mateo confirmed these failures.
There is no estimated time to restore power to these two cities.
San Francisco shows several areas with failures including portions of the Hayes Valley, the Civic Center, South of Market, and the Mission District. More than 5,000 customers are affected there.
The police are reminding drivers to treat all intersections with inoperable traffic signals as four-way stops.
Kevin Mendez of Bay City News, Brooks Jarosz of KTVU and the Associated Press contributed to this report.