Flex Alert: Tracker shows how close we are to overloading the power grid

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the Bay Area reaches the peak of its heat wave Thursday, Cal ISO has issued a Flex Alert, asking Californians to conserve energy to avoid overloading the grid.

RELATED: The best ways to save power during a Flex Alert

Cal ISO, or the California Independent System Operator, oversees the state's power grid and infrastructure. In the afternoon hours on hot days, when most people are running air conditioners and high-energy appliances, power use is highest, putting the most pressure on California's infrastructure.

The agency created a real-time tracker that shows how close we are to that tipping point.

The available capacity for the state is about 50,000 megawatts. On Thursday, we're forecasted to peak around 43,000.

RELATED: North Bay prepares for possible fires, power outages amid heat wave

As of 1:20 p.m., demand was around 35,600 megawatts. That's up from 29,000 at 9 a.m. The number is expected to keep climbing as temperatures heat up.

A screenshot shows how demand compared to overall power grid capacity as of 1:20 p.m. on June 17, 2021.

A screenshot shows how demand compared to overall power grid capacity as of 1:20 p.m. on June 17, 2021.

Screenshot / Cal ISO



See how current demand compares to our maximum capacity by viewing Cal ISO's tracker.

If demand on the grid if expected to exceed capacity, the state sometimes triggers rolling blackouts to conserve energy, as they did in the late summer of 2020.

It's supposed to stay hot through Friday, but Thursday is expected to be the hottest day of the week.



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