How Will California Handle Pressure on Power Grid With More Electric Vehicles?

NBC Universal, Inc.

Electric vehicle owners in California, like other people across the state, are being asked to help conserve energy to ease the burden on the power grid during the heat wave, but one big question remains: how will California handle the pressure on the grid as the state continues to push drivers to go electric?

There are roughly 500,000 electric vehicles registered in the state right now. That number is expected to be in the millions by 2030.

"Well, PG&E is ready," PG&E spokesperson Deanna Contreras said. "And we’re committed to meeting the state’s very aggressive clean energy goals. We’ve already been a leader in clean energy, in environmentally sustainability for several years now. We're ready to do what the state asks us to do."

Contreras said voluntary conservation during peak hours will be a crucial part of power management for the foreseeable future. Right now, Californians are asked to conserve energy between 4 and 9 p.m. as part of a Flex Alert.

Contreras said she understands some people can't charge their vehicle during non-peak hours but asks everyone to do their best to save energy whenever possible during a Flex Alert.

"It does require a little bit of planning: charging your electric vehicle earlier in the morning, before 4 p.m., pre-cooling your home when you first wake up in the morning, opening up all the windows to get that cool air in," she said.

Electric vehicle owner Doug Hudson of Walnut Creek said he's doing his part by putting his home charger on a timer so he's only charging after midnight.

"It will go on automatically and it will go off automatically," he said.

He said it takes about seven hours to fully charge and is finished by 7 a.m. usually. He saves a little bit of money by plugging in when the power rates drop.

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