The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) is urging California employers to sign up for Flex Alert notices, which is a call to action urging energy consumers to voluntarily cut back on electricity and shift electricity use to off-peak hours, normally after 9 p.m.
Energy forecasts show tight supplies during certain times this summer and as such, consumers may see more frequent calls for conservation than in the past.
Flex Alerts are voluntary calls for consumer conservation and are a crucial tool used by the ISO to balance supply and demand. When consumers reduce electricity use at critical times, such as during the afternoon peaks, it can help prevent stronger emergency measures that in the worst case includes initiating rotating power outages. Flex Alerts are typically issued in the summer when hot weather pushes up electricity demand, but they can be called at any time conditions warrant.
Ideally, a Flex Alert is most effective when issued a day in advance of when conservation is needed so consumers have time to adjust electricity usage ahead of time, such as turning the thermostat up or off before leaving for work.
A Flex Alert was issued on July 24 and 25. ISO calculations show that consumers conserved nearly 450 megawatts on Tuesday, July 24 and 540 megawatts on Wednesday, July 25. These amounts of energy savings were considerable.
Grid emergencies can happen suddenly and for a variety of reasons, so if conservation can help, the ISO will issue a Flex Alert with little or no advance notice.
The ISO’s service territory encompasses about 80 percent of California’s electricity consumers.
For more information on summer readiness and Flex Alerts, click here.