© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Agricultural worker Ernesto Hernandez takes a water break while enduring high temperatures in a tomato field, as a heat wave affects the region near Winters, California, U.S. July 13, 2023. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo
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(Reuters) – The California power grid operator ended an emergency alert issued for a brief period on Thursday in anticipation of higher-than-expected demand as homes and businesses crank up air conditioners to escape high temperatures.
The California Independent System Operator (ISO) had issued the alert for the period between 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. PDT on Thursday (0230 to 0500 GMT on Friday), encouraging consumers to conserve electricity during this time, but ended it at 8:30 p.m. because it was able to secure additional resources.
The ISO said an “Energy Emergency Alert 1” (EEA 1) had been declared, which happens when real-time analysis shows all resources are committed or forecast to be in use and energy deficiencies are expected during the specified time period.
As of 9 p.m., current demand stood at 38,596 megawatts, versus available capacity at 45,060 MW, the ISO website showed.
Meteorologists at AccuWeather forecast temperatures in Los Angeles averaging 89.6 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) on Thursday, rising to 91.4F on Friday. That compares to a normal high of 82.4F at this time of year.
The California grid operator said it did not expect it would need to issue further alerts on Friday such as an EEA 2, 3 or a more enhanced “flex alert” calling upon consumers to voluntarily conserve power when supply may not meet high demand.
As a heat wave bakes parts of the country, the Texas power grid broke demand records multiple times in the past couple of weeks, but has so far avoided rolling blackouts, while Arizona also saw power use soaring to an all-time high this week.
U.S. natural gas futures have jumped about 8% so far this week on forecasts for the weather to remain hotter-than-normal through early August, especially in Texas. [NGA/]