By Ari Vanrenen
PG&E today (June 23) thanked customers for their conservation efforts as it came close to breaking an all-time record for electricity use the day before. While PG&E expected to reach record electricity use, an afternoon and evening sea breeze in the Bay Area provided relief to some of the heat risk and electric demands.
PG&E has restored more than 21,000 customers who had lost power since Thursday morning due to the extreme heat across California.
The heat wave drove up energy demand close to levels not seen since 2006 — especially due to air conditioner use to combat the heat. PG&E was ready for the high energy usage and ensured the company had enough energy supply, including renewables like solar energy, to meet the needs of their customers. Once the sun sets and renewables are less abundant on the grid, customer conservation efforts between 4-7 p.m. become even more critical.
Since the heat wave first began on June 16, PG&E has restored about 379,000 customers, activated 19 local emergency centers and deployed about 5,100 field employees who supported power restoration during the heat wave. PG&E employees continue to work to restore service for the remaining customers who have experienced heat wave-related outages, especially those in San Jose and eastern Contra Costa County.
Thursday was one of the hottest days on the books in recent years with some customers experiencing temperatures as high as 110.
“We want to thank our customers for their patience during this prolonged heat wave as our crews worked safely and as quickly as possible in extremely hot weather conditions to restore power to our customers,” said Deborah Affonsa, vice president of Customer Service at PG&E. “We encourage our customers and the public to continue to stay cool and safe as temperatures will remain high in some areas over the weekend.”
Customer demand for energy during the heat wave on Thursday reached its highest point at 20,754 megawatts. The energy company’s all-time system peak load was on July 25, 2006, when customer demand for electricity hit 22,468 megawatts. The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s energy grid, said peak usage across California was 42,000 megawatts on Thursday.
PG&E meteorologists forecast some areas will see cooling today while temperatures remain high in the interior of the state throughout the weekend. PG&E reminds customers that small behavioral changes can make a big difference in reducing demand on the power grid during periods of extreme heat while helping customers to stay comfortable.
- Set your air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees or higher when you’re at home, health permitting, and 85 degrees when you’re away.
- Setting your AC thermostat 5 degrees higher will save about 10 percent on cooling costs.
- If you turn your ceiling fan on when using the air conditioner, you can raise your thermostat about 4°F to save energy with no reduction in comfort.
- Shut windows and draw the shades to keep in pre-cooled air from the night and early morning.
- Have your central cooling duct system checked for leaks. Up to 20 percent of cooled air can be lost through leaky or poorly insulated ducts.
- Avoid using an electric oven on hot days. Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave oven or grill outside.
For more tips on how to save this summer, visit www.pge.com/summer. For other tips and updates, customers also can visit PG&E’s Twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/pge4me and PG&E’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pacificgasandelectric.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.