Heat Wave

California's Power Grid Strained as Oregon Wildfire Intensifies

Electrical power line towers
ROBYN BECK/Getty Images

California residents are asked to cut down their energy use as the state-wide power grid is under strenuous conditions from excessive heat and the growing wildfire in Oregon.

On Friday, the power grid operator issued an extended Flex Alert for the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

A "flex alert" is a request that consumers conserve electricity by avoiding using energy-guzzling appliances like washers, dryers and air conditioners.

"Voluntary conservation has helped keep the electric grid stable during past times of high stress on the grid, including last month when triple-digit temperatures across the West strained the system with higher demand for power," California Independent System Operator said in a news release.

Then, at 1 p.m. Saturday it said the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon was threatening power supplies, which power officials describe as a "wildcard". It issued a "grid warming" covering the hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., which enables it to seek and use emergency assistance.

The fast-growing Oregon fire reportedly came from a lightning strike, and it's already burned more than 76,000 acres since Friday. It's also affecting transmission lines that extend to Nevada.

"The [California Oregon Intertie] is not only used to import electricity from the Pacific Northwest to the electric grid managed by the ISO, it also imports power into other grid balancing authorities and the state of Nevada.

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