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California Dodges Outages During Heat Wave But EV Owners Push Grid Capacity

PETALUMA (KPIX) -- Although the record-breaking heat wave eased slightly Friday, California ISO again issued a Flex Alert urging Californians to conserve power to relieve stress on the grid. Those conservation efforts went well and Cal ISO didn't need to initiate power outages.

In downtown Petaluma, people were enjoying the warm evening and trying to find ways to cool off.

"It's just really hot out and we wanted some ice cream," said Addie from Pennsylvania says. At Lala's Creamery, owner Angela Pryor said she relies on every watt of electricity to keep her business running.

"If the power were to go out, that would be a problem because we have a lot of ice cream waiting to be served," Pryor said.

At an electric car charging station, there were several cars parked during the Flex Alert. EV owners say they try to charge during off peak hours but sometimes they have no choice.

"I have to get back home so I have to charge it," said Mark Zimmerman.

According to, the average electric car uses 30 kilowatt hours to travel a hundred miles. That's the same amount an average American home uses per day. As California shifts to electric cars to reduce carbon emissions, it's having an impact on the state's power grid and the demand is only expected to increase.

"I would get little bit of power and make the environment clean than put gas in there and make the environment dirty," said Alina Reyes, an electric car driver.

The demand is expected to go up about 25 percent by the 2035 deadline when the state will end the sale of new internal combustion cars. There are different plans in the works, including converting charging stations to solar energy but there is more work that needs to be done to meet the demand.

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