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'Chaos On The Horizon': Concern Grows Over Potential Summer Power Outages In California

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - California's power grid operator is predicting an energy shortage for the hot summer months.

The California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) said the state could be 1,700 megawatts short of what it needs for the grid to function properly.

So now, the rush to be ready for summer is on.

"Especially with the blackouts, it's some of our busiest days," said Emigh Hardware manager Chris Metzler.

For 115 years, Emigh Hardware in Sacramento has provided peace of mind to customers on hot summer days.

"People are flying in trying to get anything they can get their hands on to get back to a normal life. We love helping the community get ready for the blackouts," Meltzer said. "We have a traditional generator that can power your home. Batteries are always good to have a large supply of batteries. We know about our state's energy needs. It's on all Californians to make sure we're ready for those days."

But what does the state's projected energy shortage mean? Just one megawatt is enough electricity to power 750 homes.

"Whenever there is a heat event, that's when the grid is being taxed the most," said Keith Taylor, a UC Davis professor of community economic development.

Taylor said increased energy uses like blasting air conditioning or refrigeration could lead to issues.

"When you have 40 million people doing it at a time, that's a lot of stress on the system," he said.

Taylor said the state's lack of energy options like solar and wind, and the inability to borrow power from other states, make for a perfect storm.

"These other states are also going to be dealing with their own power shortage issue," he said. "I think there's going to be a limited amount of chaos on the horizon."

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo generates nuclear power. As of right now, that plant is still online and could help with outages this summer.

Wildfires, of course, will be an issue as well, pushing the grid to it's limits and pretty much guaranteeing outages in some areas.

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