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Getting Answers: It's "quite likely" Cal ISO will issue Flex Alerts this week

SACRAMENTO -- Northern California will be in the midst of a heatwave over Labor Day weekend, and with it, increased demand for electricity statewide. 

The California Independent System Contractor is monitoring above-average temperatures of 10-20 degrees higher, according to the National Weather Service Sacramento. 

This heatwave is not limited to California, but temperatures are expected to rise along the Western U.S. starting on Wednesday, Aug. 31 into next Tuesday, September 6. 

The hottest days expected, according to Cal ISO, are Sunday and Monday, September 4 and 5. The state's power grid will monitor Monday and Tuesday due to peak loads that are expected due to the heat. 

Starting Wednesday, peak electricity loads are projected at more than 43,000 Mega Watts and by Monday, more than 47,396 megawatts.

To respond to the prolonged high temperatures, a Cal ISO spokesperson told CBS13 there are options in place to account for increased electricity demand. That includes issuing Flex Alerts, which are notifications to customers to voluntarily cut back on electricity use and shift use to off-peak hours. 

Off-peak hours are typically after 9 p.m. because when the sun sets from 4-9 p.m., solar power goes offline.

How likely is Cal ISO to issue Flex Alerts this week? 

"I think it is quite likely that we will get a flex alert this week," said Severin Borenstein, Professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and member of the Cal ISO Board of Governors. 

Borenstein said because the heatwave is not limited to California and temperatures are projected to rise across the west, it becomes a challenge for California to buy energy from other states. 

"It's getting harder and harder to get other states to sell us electricity because they're having heat waves at the same time," said Bornstein. 

The City of Sacramento is preparing to open a cooling center either Wednesday or Thursday. Sacramento County will also open a cooling center, as well as provide motel vouchers. A spokesperson said more information will be released after Monday. 

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