Utility offers tips to customers as heat wave approaches

After unseasonably cool weather in parts of Northern and Central California over the past few weeks, the first true heat wave of summer arrives this week.

Temperatures are forecast to begin climbing on Wednesday (June 16) through the weekend. Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) in-house meteorologists say that a strong area of high pressure will develop over the desert Southwest this week resulting in a warming trend that will see triple-digit heat return. Daytime maximums could top out in the 105 to 110-degree range through the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys with 90s to near 100 degrees possible across inland Bay Area valleys.

If the elevated heat leads to outages, PG&E has a plan to address any issues that come from the high temperatures and crews monitoring the situation are ready to respond. We encourage customers to be prepared, stay cool and hydrated and practice safety by developing an emergency plan and checking in on neighbors.

The California Independent Operator, which runs the state’s grid, issued a heat bulletin on Friday, June 11. “Although no outages or other power disruptions are anticipated right now,” CAISO says, it issued the bulletin “to prepare the public for possible stressed grid conditions caused by extreme hot weather.”  CAISO has told all generators to defer maintenance next Wednesday to Friday. To review tips on conserving energy and sign up for notifications from CAISO, visit FlexAlert.org.

Energy conservation tips

Here are ways for customers to reduce energy use during hours when grid-demand peaks.:

  • Adjust your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, after cooling your home to below-normal levels in the morning. Turn it off if you will be away from home. Use a fan instead of air conditioning when possible.
  • Draw drapes and turn off unnecessary lighting.
  • Limit the opening of refrigerators, which is a major user of electricity in most homes. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day.
  • Keep refrigerator full (with bottles of water if nothing else) and unplug your second refrigerator if you have one.
  • Avoid using the oven. Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave or grill outside.
  • Set your pool pump to run overnight instead of during the day.

Outage safety tips

And here are ways for customers to stay safe if outages occur:

  1. Have flashlights, radios and fresh batteries ready.
  2. Use battery-operated flashlights, not candles, which pose a fire hazard.
  3. Unplug or turn off all electric and heat-producing appliances (e.g., air conditioners, washers and dryers, ovens, stoves, irons) to avoid overloading circuits. Overloaded circuits can be a fire hazard once power is restored.
  4. Unplug televisions and computers that were in use when the power went out.
  5. Leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.
  6. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed, and place extra containers of ice inside to preserve food. A full freezer will remain colder longer.
  7. Notify your alarm company if you have an alarm system. Equipment can be affected by outages.
  8. Keep important numbers (e.g., hospital, fire department, police, friends, relatives) near the phone.
  • Gather non-perishable food that doesn’t require cooking, as well as a manual can opener.
  • If you have a generator, make sure a licensed electrician properly installs it. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to our crews.