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Amid Record Heat, State Calls Second Flex Alert in a Week

An excessive heat warning and monsoonal lightning is predicted to last through the Labor Day weekend.
By Caroline Aoyagi-Stom @SCE_CarolineA

UPDATED as of 9 p.m., Aug. 31

With record-breaking heat throughout the Southland continuing into the Labor Day weekend, the California Independent System Operator has called a second Flex Alert in a week asking residents to start conserving energy.

The Flex Alert will take place from 1-10 p.m. Friday and asks customers to voluntarily reduce their energy use. Southern California Edison is asking customers to conserve energy by setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher and to hold off using energy-intensive appliances during the alert.

“Our crews are ready to respond to any additional outages through the weekend. We thank our customers for their continued patience.

Paul Grigaux

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning through Saturday. Record high temperatures are expected in the Inland Empire and desert areas. In addition, monsoonal thunderstorms are predicted for the deserts, mountains and the Inland Empire through the weekend.

“With high heat throughout the day, including early mornings and into the evenings, and now monsoonal lightning predicted through the weekend, additional outages may occur,” said Paul Grigaux, SCE vice president of Transmission, Substations and Operations. “We ask our customers to help reduce the stress on the grid by conserving energy immediately.”

Customers in SCE's territory had an all-time peak in energy demand of 23,508 megawatts on Aug. 30. The last record was in 2007 at 23,303 MW.

On Thursday, three lighting strikes hit SCE’s Colton substation that partly feeds into the city of Colton, which is served by Colton Public Utilities. The lighting struck a transformer that caused an outage. As of 9 p.m. today, all power has been restored to the affected customers.

In addition to lightning-caused outages, the lingering high heat can cause electrical equipment to overheat. Like a car left running too long, electrical equipment can sometimes overheat and break down.

“Our crews are ready to respond to any additional outages through the weekend,” said Grigaux. “We thank our customers for their continued patience.”

Customers can report or inquire about outages at 800-611-1911 and get the latest information using the SCE outages app at sce.com/outages. They can also stay informed by visiting sce.com/staysafe, twitter.com/sce and facebook.com/sce.

Customers can conserve energy by:

  • Turn off unused appliances and equipment.
  • Use electric fans instead of air conditioning when practical.
  • Shut off lights when leaving a room.
  • Close drapes and blinds to keep out direct sunlight during hot periods.
  • Avoid using evaporative coolers or humidifiers at the same time an air conditioner is running.
  • Operate swimming pool equipment and energy-intensive appliances, such as dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, during early-morning and late-evening hours.
  • Limit the opening and reopening of refrigerators, which are major users of electricity in most homes.

Safety tips during a heat wave:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun, if possible. If you must be outside, be sure to wear a hat, use sunscreen and dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat and remember to take frequent breaks. Try to avoid strenuous work during the hottest part of the day.
  • Check on elderly family, friends and neighbors who live alone or do not have air conditioning to make sure they’re safe.
  • Never leave children or pets in enclosed vehicles, even with the windows "cracked" or open.
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