California again urges residents not to charge electric vehicles over busy travel weekend

California’s power grid operator called on residents to further reduce their electricity use this week, warning of worsening grid conditions amid a record-breaking heat wave.

California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO) warned on Sunday that it is “escalating its call for consumers to reduce their electricity use” due to historic heat which will put severe strain on the grid, according to an opinion. CAISO asked residents to set their thermostats to a minimum of 78 degrees, turn off all “unnecessary lights” and avoid using large appliances or charging their electric vehicles (EVs) between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. for the duration of the alert.

“Starting tomorrow, this multi-day event is going to get much more intense,” CAISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer said in a statement on Sunday. “We are facing a load forecast of 48,817 megawatts and power deficits between 2,000 and 4,000 megawatts for Monday, resulting in the highest likelihood of rotating outages we have seen so far this summer.”

“We thank electricity consumers for their continued efforts to help us maintain reliability under these very difficult conditions,” he added.

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A car is parked at an electric charging station in San Francisco on August 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu/AP Newsroom)

The call for reduced electric vehicle charging comes over the Labor Day holiday, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. The weekend is expected to be the busiest Labor Day for travel in three years, according to AAA.

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Monday marked the sixth day in a row that CAISO has asked residents to reduce their electricity use. The network operator also extended the Monday alert until 10 p.m. to save additional power.

“Monday and Tuesday are still expected to be the toughest days yet, with the highest temperatures expected on Tuesday and a projected power demand of 50,099 megawatts,” the notice said.

CAISO said consumers should pre-cool their homes and use major appliances before 4 p.m. because that’s when the state’s solar energy resources are “abundant.” In recent years, California has pushed to rapidly move away from fossil fuel electricity generation and, by 2021, was the largest producer of electricity from solar power in the country.

Tracy, California

A view of windmills and power lines in Tracy, California on August 17, 2022. (Reuters/Carlos Barria/Reuters Pictures/Reuters Pictures)

The state government, meanwhile, issued environmental regulations in late August banning the sale of traditional internal combustion engine vehicles after 2034. All new car sales in 2035 must be electric vehicles.

“When it comes to good energy policy, California leaders are out of touch with reality,” Daniel Turner, founder and chief executive of energy group Power The Future, said in a statement last week.

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“Temperatures are soaring and residents are being asked to turn off their everyday appliances and air conditioners over a long holiday weekend,” he continued. “Welcome to the green utopia that Joe Biden, Gavin Newsom and the rest of the eco-left want for the rest of the country. It would be comical if the consequences weren’t so dire.”

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