As temperatures in the state tipped 112 degrees, the corporation that runs its electric grid announced rolling blackouts beginning at 6:30 p.m. for up to 250,000 homes and businesses in the northern and central areas of the state.
It marks the first time such rotating blackouts were implemented since the state faced its energy crisis nearly 20 years ago, the San Fransisco Chronicle reported.
Officials have urged Californians to conserve energy and keep thermostats at 78 degrees or higher as the state braces for more than a week of brutally hot weather. Residents were asked to not use any major appliances between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.
“We’re going to experience record-breaking temperatures, as the case in any jurisdiction on the globe, that means we could all do well just to be thoughtful of our electricity and energy consumption,” Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Friday.
The grid manager, the California Independent System Operator, issued the emergency, “after extreme heat drove up electricity demand across California, causing the ISO to dip into its operating reserves for supply to cover demand,” the corporation said in a statement.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it would be turning off the power to between 200,000 to 250,000 customers for hour-long blocks between 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday
“We urge our customers to take immediate steps to reduce their power usage,” said Michael Lewis, the interim president of PG&E, in a statement. “We will work to restore power safely and as quickly as we are able.”