Rotating outages have recently been called in our service area, so we wanted to explain what they are, why they occur and how you can stay informed of the latest updates
The California Independent System Operator, or CAISO, operates the state’s electric grid. They oversee the statewide power grid and forecast whether there’s enough supply to meet customer demand.
Typically, there is enough energy supply to meet demand in California.
However, due to the broad impact of this statewide heatwave, like the one we’re experiencing now, customer demand can exceed the amount of supply available.
When this happens, at the direction of CAISO, California utilities – like PG&E – may be asked to conduct temporary, rotating power outages to relieve strain on the grid, and prevent even more unplanned power outages from occurring.
Rotating outages typically last 1-2 hours, and multiple blocks of rotating outages may be called until they are no longer needed to maintain a balance between the energy supply and customer demand. Locations are chosen at random, but–added together—they equal the amount of energy needed to meet the state’s needs.
The orders from CAISO to conduct rotating power outages are sudden and immediate and must be executed within 10 minutes, so it is not typically possible to notify customers in advance. These immediate actions are required to protect and minimize broader impacts to our customers. In short, we have turn off small groups of customers to make sure the larger system doesn’t impact everyone.
We will keep you updated to the best of our ability when rotating outages may occur or when energy supply shortfalls are anticipated. For the most up-to-date information please visit our social media channels – Twitter, Instragram and Facebook — or our web site for the latest updates.
Thank you, and stay safe.