Californian authorities have declared a Stage 3 Electrical Emergency due to the ongoing heatwave in the state, thereby, initiating phased power across the state. This is the first time since 2001 that authorities have been forced to resort to the said measures.

Residents from several counties in Southern California including Orange, Los Angeles, and Ventura, lambasted the California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) on Saturday after it announced the emergency measure on Friday in order to conserve the stability of the power system. Cal ISO manages the power load in the affected regions.

Record-breaking Heatwave

Also on Friday, Cal ISO issued a statewide flex alert, under which Californians are being urged to turn off unnecessary lights, use major appliances before 3 p.m., and after 10 p.m., and set their air conditioner thermostats to 25.5 degrees Celsius or higher.

Power Line
Power Line (Representational Picture) Pixabay

"California will be experiencing near-record or record-breaking heat, up to 10-20 degrees above normal in some areas," ISO said in a statement, adding it tried to manage the strain on the grid to limit any potential power disruptions.

Heat Warnings Issued

Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the US, with more than 10 million inhabitants as of 2018 and the Los Angeles metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of nearly 20 million residents. Authorities in Southern California cities said they suffered blackout varying between 15 minutes and 1 hour on Friday night.

Excessive heat warnings were issued by National Weather Service on Saturday morning and will be in effect till next Wednesday for most of Southern California. High temperatures are forecast for the Inland Empire, Orange County, the Ventura County coasts and valleys, and could reach as high as 48.9 degrees Celsius) in the low deserts.

(With inputs from agencies)