California lawmakers trying to modernize electric grid as flex alerts persist

ByTim Johns via KGO logo
Thursday, September 1, 2022
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At a legislative session Wednesday, California lawmakers discussed ways to modernize the grid's infrastructure to prevent flex alerts and blackouts

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With the hottest temperatures of the year expected around the state over the coming days, flex alerts are once again a reality for Bay Area residents.

"The state called for a Flex Alert for a reason. That means that peak demand, between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m, is getting dangerously close to what we have in supply- balancing out supply and demand. So, every little bit helps," said PG&E spokesperson, Deanna Contreras.

In order to try and prevent sweeping blackouts, people are being asked to try and save energy at their homes.

The alerts have become increasingly common in recent years as drought conditions persist and the climate continues to warm.

RELATED: Flex Alert: California grid operator calls for voluntary conservation ahead of heat wave

As people try to stay cool, all of it has placed an increasing strain on the state's electric grid and created problems for lawmakers in Sacramento.

At a legislative session Wednesday night, they discussed ways to modernize the grid's infrastructure.

"So number one, we do not have blackouts in the future. That we prepare the grid to withstand what we know is coming," said State Senator, Josh Becker.

Places like Berkeley and others in the Bay Area have already taken large steps.

Starting in October, every business in the city will rely on renewable energies for most of their electrical needs.

VIDEO: What is a Flex Alert?

State Senator Becker, chair of a committee focused on clean energy, says California continues to lead the rest of the nation.

"That's what we're doing right now. Put those right incentives in place. Put the policies in place. Encourage the right kinds of renewables at the right times," he said.

But for the immediate future, it seems flex alerts are here to stay.

An inconvenient reality that many say are better than the alternatives.

"I don't want to have fires. So, I'm willing to make that trade off," said Oakland resident, Jeff Trowbridge.

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