Heatwave…we’re sizzling in the southwest.  Rolling blackouts are coming.  Sadly, I’ve already had to go through these during the winter.  I have lots of blankets to help with that, but summer?  Yikes!    California, Arizona, and Texas are all experiencing terrible heat right now.  Best to be prepared.

According to Reuters:

California will have its first test of plans to keep the lights on this summer…

With record-setting heat and air conditioning demand expected in Southern California, the state’s power grid operator issued a so-called “flex alert,” urging consumers to conserve energy to help prevent rotating power outages – which could occur regardless.

Electricity demand is expected to rise during the unseasonable heatwave on Monday and Tuesday, with forecast system-wide use expected to top 45,000 megawatts, said the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages electricity flow through the state. That compares with a peak demand of 47,358 MW last year and the all-time high of 50,270 MW set in July 2006.

That could put stress on the power grid, particularly with the shut-in of Aliso Canyon, following a massive leak at the underground storage facility in October [Editor’s Note: which was not stopped fully until mid-February 2016].

The large-scale natural gas disaster – which curiously escaped media frenzy and widespread environmental concern – has resulted in the shutdown of key storage facilities that supply most of the power for the southern portion of the state.

As summer demand for electricity to cool homes and businesses kicks into high gear, power plants are planning to shut down, with supply shortages triggering controlled blackouts and brownouts.

Reports say that “all customers” should expect to be without power a total 14 days – 2 weeks time – out of this summer. Some 21 million Californians stand to be directly affected:

All customers, including homes, hospitals, oil refineries and airports are at risk of losing power at some point this summer because a majority of electric generating stations in California use gas as their primary fuel. In April, millions of electric customers in Southern California were warned they could suffer power outages on up to 14 days this summer due to the closure.

Unlike some other gas transmission systems that can store large amounts of so-called linepack gas in pipelines, like PG&E Corp in northern California, SoCalGas cannot function with only pipeline or storage supplies.

Prepare for the Problem

  • To be proactive, begin using perishable foods in the freezer and refrigerator to minimize food spoilage. Also, to keep items as cool as possible during rolling black, limit the amount of times the refrigerator or freezer door is opened. If you are concerned that the meat may spoil, preserve it beforehand, by either the canning method or the dehydration method.
  • Freeze soda bottles filled with water and when the rolling blackouts occur, place the frozen soda bottles in the refrigerator to maintain the optimum temperature.
  • Stay indoors and try and keep your body temperature as cool as possible. See tips below.
  • Close window blinds and curtains to keep the heat out.
  • If the home is too hot to stay in, try and beat the heat and head to the local pool.

Stay Cool

After exposure to extreme heat for extended periods, the body loses its ability to cool down naturally through sweating and evaporative cooling. Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk.  Remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. If you exhibit any of the symptoms listed below, be sure get to a cool location, and if symptoms persist, seek medical attention.

  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea
  • Hot, dry skin without sweat
  • High pulse rate
  • High body temperature
  • Unconsciousness
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech or hallucinations

Typically, the duration of the black outs may only be for an hour or so. During that time, follow these tips to stay cool:

  • Wet your hair.

  • Take a cool bath.

  • Wear a bandana.

  • Keep a spritz bottle filled with water in the refrigerator.

  • Stay in the lowest part of your home.

    This certainly helps,