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Newsom Signs Emergency Order To Free Up Power During Heat Wave


LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With a heat wave set to engulf Southern California and the entire Golden State this Labor Day Weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom took steps Thursday in an effort to avoid potential rolling blackouts and ease strain on the state's power grid.

The sun sets behind power lines in Los Angeles, California on September 3, 2020, ahead of a heatwave to arrive September 4 through the Labour Day weekend prompting a statewide flex alert. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Newsom signed an emergency proclamation to free up more energy capacity.

The order suspends certain permitting requirements for power plants, thus allowing them to generate more energy to meet demand.

Temperatures this weekend are expected to reach well into the triple-digits. The San Fernando Valley could see a high of 115 degrees Saturday, while the Inland Empire could hit 112 degrees.

"We're talking about, possibly all-time records, and that goes back over a hundred years," said Eric Boldt from the National Weather Service.

An excessive heat warning is in effect from 10 a.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Monday for most of the region, including the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Antelope valleys and the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains.

The California Independent System Operator has issued a Flex Alert that will run between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

During the Flex Alert, people are asked to conserve energy as much as possible by keeping their air conditioning thermostats no lower than 78 degrees and limiting the use of major appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers. They should also turn off lights and unplug cell phone chargers when not in use.

There were several Flex Alert days in mid-August due to a heat wave which lasted over a week and forced California to implement its first rolling blackouts since 2001, including across the Southland. During one period on Aug. 15, Southern California Edison reported that about 70,000 customers were affected by rolling blackouts from Santa Monica to Woodland Hills.

While the L.A. Department of Water and Power was spared from rolling blackouts because it owns it own power plants and transmission lines, it still experienced power outages. On Aug. 18, more than 12,000 LADWP customers lost electricity due to stress on the utility's power grid.

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