PG&E asks Californians to conserve energy as winter vortex taxes power grids in other US regions

PG&E says not to expect rotating outages in California, but that voluntarily saving energy "will help others across the country."
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As extreme winter weather sweeps the Midwest, Texas and Southeast, PG&E and other utilities are asking California customers to help by conserving energy in the evening hours.

The utilities say the current polar vortex is "taxing the electric grid" in those regions of the U.S., and that Californians can alleviate the situation by using less electricity and gas.

RELATED: 14 states face rolling blackouts; millions in Texas without power

PG&E says not to expect rotating outages in California, but that voluntarily saving energy "will help others across the country."

In a press release, the power utilities say, "According to The New York Times, 150 million Americans are in the storm's path and utilities in 14 states have been told to start rolling outages to ease the strain on the nation's grid. The biggest impact is being felt in states like Texas, where this kind of winter weather is rare. Houston set a record low temperature of 17 degrees, the National Weather Service said, beating the former record of 18 degrees from 1905."

RELATED: What to do right now to prep for a planned power outage

PG&E says customers using medical devices should not participate in conserving energy.

Some ways PG&E suggests saving energy include:

  • Set your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower in winter, health permitting
  • Set the water heater thermostat at 120F or lower
  • Unplug small appliances and electronics, like coffee makers and printers when not in use
  • Open blinds and windows to warm and light your home naturally during daylight hours
  • Reverse your fan in winter to produce a gentle updraft, forcing warm air near the ceiling down into the living space
  • Take shorter showers
  • Only run full loads when washing clothes and wash in cold water
  • Use a small lamp to spotlight your workspace instead of overhead bulbs
  • Turn down brightness and set automatic eco- and energy-saving features in TVs and consoles
  • Stream media on smaller screens, like tablets when possible
  • Plug all personal electronics into a power strip when not in use


For more tips on saving energy this winter, visit www.pge.com/winter.
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