California Experiences Limited Blackouts as Power Demand Hits Record

California experienced limited power outages on Tuesday evening as power demand surged to record levels and the system reached its highest level of emergency alert — though the state did not have to endure rolling blackouts, thanks to conservation by consumers.

According to the California Independent System Operator (ISO), power demand reached 52,061 megawatts by Tuesday evening, breaking a record that had stood since 2006, as the state endured one of the longest and most intense heat waves in its history.

The state issued a second consecutive “Energy Emergency Alert,” and raised the alert to  Level 3, the highest level, at which rolling blackouts are imminent. However, aside from “load shedding” by some local authorities, there were no formal statewide blackouts.

The Los Angeles Times noted that there was some confusion between state and local authorities as to whether load shedding had actually happened:

Palo Alto officials said around 7 p.m. that they had been cleared to restore power to about 1,700 customers after outages to meet Cal ISO’s “load-shedding requirements.”


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