AUSTIN, Texas: Amidst an ongoing severe drought, Texas and California officials have asked residents to conserve energy this week, in a bid to avoid outages as homes and businesses due to increased use of air conditioners during the ongoing heatwave throughout the U.S. Southwest.
"The public's help is essential when extreme weather or other factors beyond our control put undue stress on the electric grid," said Elliot Mainzer, chief executive of the California ISO, which operates the electric grid in most of California, as quoted by Reuters.
This year, both Texas and California put in place rotating or controlled power outages to prevent the widespread collapse of their power systems.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state's grid operator, said a new state record for electricity usage was set this week, and is expected to be broken by even greater demand within days.
Meanwhile, the California ISO said its Flex Alert, or call for conservation, "is critical because when temperatures hit triple digits across a wide geographic area, no state has enough energy to meet all the heightened demand."
Officials at the ISO said the most difficult time of day is in the evening when demand remains high and solar energy diminishes. This year, said officials, solar power has provided 22 percent of the grid's electric power.