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More rolling black outs expected across San Diego

Posted at 5:19 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 20:33:52-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- More rolling power outages are expected across San Diego as an intense heatwave bakes the county.

SDG&E warned Monday that more rotating outages are likely across the region for the next few days.

"We certainly understand it's a pandemic and everyone is at home right now. We're working from home and schooling from home, and we totally get that, but everything we can possibly do to conserve any ounce of energy is going to help the collective right now," said Denice Menard communications manager for SDG&E.

The California Independent System Operator runs the majority of the state's grid. The non-profit says the outages are necessary due to increased demand from the scorching temperatures, but some industry experts disagree.

"Asleep at the wheel might be a thought that comes to mind," said Bill Powers, Principal of Powers Engineering. Powers has worked on electrical systems for decades, and he's also testified as an expert on energy matters.

Powers said there was nothing unusual about the heat.

"Those of us that watch this on a daily basis knew that Friday was a hot day, but it wasn't an atypical hot day. There was nothing special about Friday's temperature or electrical demand in terms of what we are capable of handling," said Powers.

The last time California had rolling blackouts was in 2001. Powers believes the outages have more to do with how the power is managed rather than how much is available.

"That's due to their whole format where they determine who has the cheapest power in this moment, and then we will let that operate.

If you have some units that take awhile to come up to speed that are higher cost, the system doesn't really work that well for that," said Powers.

California's governor also called the outages unacceptable and promised a swift investigation.

"If they start operating the grid with a little bit of practical wisdom, they're not going to be any more blackouts. We have plenty of power, we have to use it in a smart way, that's what they get paid to do," said Powers.

The outages usually last an hour and happen between 2 pm and 10 pm.

No one from the California ISO was available for comment Monday.