With a heat wave gripping the Southland and power demand on the rise, the manager of the state’s energy grid issued a “flex alert,” urging residents to conserve electricity between 2 and 9 p.m. today — a warm, muggy day when showers and thunderstorms are possible — to reduce strain on the system.
The alert went into effect Tuesday and was to remain in force today, according to the California Independent System Operator. The National Weather Service, meanwhile, warned of a chance of thunderstorm today and again tonight in the Greater Los Angeles area, where temperatures will range from the 70s at the beach to about 100 in the Antelope Valley.
“Consumers are urged to reduce their energy use during the late afternoon when air conditioners drive consumption to the highest point of the day,” according to the alert.
According to Cal-ISO, a flex alert is issued when the state’s power grid is under stress due to elevated demand or transmission system outages. The alerts call for voluntary conservation so the state will not have to dip into energy reserves.
The agency offered a series of tips for conserving energy:
— Set thermostats at 78 degrees or higher and turn air conditioners off when away.
— Switch off lights when leaving a room.
— Avoid using appliances during peak hours, particularly from 4 to 6 p.m.
— Reset pool pumps to run during off-peak hours.
— Turn off computer monitors at work while away from the desk, and switch off lights and coffee makers.
The heat also raised health concerns, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health declared a heat alert in the Antelope Valley for Tuesday and today. According to the National Weather Services, temperatures are expected to range from about 95 to 105 in the Antelope Valley.
Temperatures will likely hover in the same range — although down by a couple of degrees — into the weekend, meaning the heat alert could be extended.
County health officials urged residents to take precautions, particularly in the case of older adults, infants and people who take part in outdoor activities or are sensitive to the heat.
Schools, day camps and sports organizations were also advised to take precautions, limiting outdoor activities to early or late in the day.
Health officials issued a series of safety tips, including:
— drinking water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often;
— avoiding sweetened drinks, caffeine and alcohol;
— taking frequent breaks;
— ensuring children seniors and animals are not left inside vehicles;
— dressing in loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing; and
— wearing a hat with a wide brim and sunscreen.
People with limited access to air-conditioning can also take advantage of county cooling centers. A list of centers is available online at http://bit.ly/BeatTheHeat2015 or via the county’s information phone line at 211.