Get your candles and hand fans ready, a return to the Dark Ages is imminent.
PG&E warned customers Monday afternoon via text and email alerts to expect rolling power outages between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. through Thursday, as Californians crank up their air conditioners in response to one of the most severe heat waves in recent memory.
PG&E’s warning to customers comes in response to California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO) announcing that “there is not a sufficient amount of energy to meet the high amounts of demand produced by the heatwave.” The expected blackouts are not “public safety power shutoffs” in response to high fire-danger conditions — although the extremely hot weather has already sparked fires across the greater Bay Area and smoke has darkened skies throughout the region.
Power outages are expected to last one to two hours at a time. PG&E customers can track blackouts in their area on this map.
Blackouts will be less severe if everybody does their part to reduce energy demand, CAISO and PG&E say. They recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when at home, and leaving it 85 degrees or turning it off when you leave. Avoid unnecessarily opening and closing the fridge, and run clothes washers, dishwashers and dryers in the morning or after 10pm at night.
Also recommended, for those accustomed to basking in 66 degree air conditioning: cold showers and light, loose clothing.