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California Governor Warns More Rolling Blackouts 'Very Likely'; 3.3M Homes Statewide Brace For Power Outages

SACRAMENTO (CBSLA/AP) -– With California in the grips of a historic heat wave, Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday signed an emergency proclamation aimed at freeing up energy capacity even as power executives warned of additional statewide rolling blackouts.

Newsom warned customers across the state that more rolling blackouts over the next 72 hours were "very likely" as the state struggles to meet demand for electricity during a historic, record-breaking heat wave.

The governor warned in his midday news conference that California was short about 4,400 megawatts to supply energy to everyone who demands it Monday, but by late afternoon, California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) officials said they might be able to delay outages until Monday evening.

Officials with Cal ISO - which oversees roughly 80% of the state's power grid through Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and San Diego Gas & Electric -- said statewide rolling blackouts affecting up to 3.3 million California homes could begin as early as 4 p.m.

But on Monday evening, Cal ISO tweeted that the state avoided rolling blackouts due to conservation efforts and cooler temperatures.

LADWP was not expected to be impacted by the outages since the utility is locally-owned and runs its own plants and will help supply 900 megawatts of power to the state grid Tuesday.

All California households including homes supplied by LADWP were asked to take measures to conserve energy during the hours of 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. as part of a statewide Flex Alert.

A digital readout shows California's power reserve at seven percent at the California Independent Systems Operator (Cal ISO)
(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News)

While acknowledging record heat conditions, Newsom conceded that the state was "likely to fall short" of its supply goals as oppressive temperatures stress the state's energy system.

"You can't control the weather but you can prepare for weather events,'' Newsom said. "We failed to prepare ... I'm ultimately accountable.''

The governor also pointed to the state's shift to renewable resources as part of the cause for the supply shortage, adding that shutdowns to polluting gas power plants has created gaps in the state's energy supply.

While California is committed to a greener future, Newsom said the state "cannot sacrifice reliability" and promised that officials would be "much more aggressive ... in making sure that is the case."

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