Scorching Heat Throughout Southern California Puts Additional Stress on Power Grid

With high temperatures even in the evenings, SCE’s equipment has less time to cool off. Crews are ready 24/7 to quickly and safely respond to possible power outages.

September 09, 2015 | By Mary Ann Milbourn

With temperatures forecast as high as 108 degrees bringing additional stress on the power grid through Thursday, Southern California Edison (SCE) crews are ready to respond as safely and quickly as possible to make any needed repairs.

SCE will cancel most maintenance outages scheduled for Thursday. Only those maintenance outages that are needed  to protect the integrity of the grid, or that must be performed in the interest of public safety, will proceed.

SCE also reminds customers that conservation will help reduce the potential for outages. To check on or report an outage, customers can visit SCE’s outage map or call 1-800-611-1911.

“In this kind of extended heatwave, customers increase the demand for air conditioning, which puts additional strain on our equipment,” said Jim Cherrie, SCE director of Grid Operations. “The grid currently is performing well and we are monitoring operations closely.”

With some customers using more energy in the evenings this week, especially air conditioning, the added demand can put a strain on SCE's equipment. Without the opportunity for SCE's equipment to cool off, transformers and other equipment could fail.

The utility has also called Save Power Days for Wednesday and Thursday. Enrolled customers can save up to $100 in bill credits each year by helping to conserve energy. For more information about residential and business energy-saving programs, visit:

High temperatures and humidity are expected into the weekend, with only slight cooling in the evenings. The National Weather Service also warned there is a chance of thunderstorms Wednesday that could produce flash flooding over the Los Angeles County mountains or the Antelope Valley.

The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the grid statewide, said it is anticipating a demand today of 47,859 MW and is watching conditions closely, but does not anticipate a Flex Alert. In 2014, the system operator's peak load was 45,089 MV. 

County Extreme Heat Cool Centers are available throughout the region. To find one in your area, dial 211, visit your local county 211 website or view a listing of Extreme Heat Cool Centers near you.

Energy Conservation Tips:

  • Set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees.
  • Close drapes and blinds to keep out direct sunlight during hot periods.
  • Use electric fans instead of air conditioning when practical.
  • Reduce electricity use between noon-6 p.m. — peak hours of energy use.
  • Shut off lights when leaving a room.
  • Limit how often you open your refrigerator door.
  • Avoid air-conditioner use when evaporative coolers or humidifiers are running.
  • When possible, businesses should shift power-intensive work processes to morning or evening hours

Safety Tips:

  • Keep outdoor activities to a minimum, and drink a lot of water during the hottest parts of the day.
  • During a power outage, turn off and unplug any unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
  • Open the refrigerator and freezer only when necessary to keep the food cold.
  • Use flashlights for lighting during a power outage; do not use candles because they pose a significant fire hazard.
  • Never attempt to move or go near a downed power line. Call 911 to report the situation.
  •  Watch for traffic signals that may be out. Approach those intersections as four-way stops.  

Topics: Customer Service, Safety