Controlled Power Outage Info for California Residents

Controlled Power Outage Info for California Residents

Emergencies can happen at any time, not just during hot weather conditions. Keep your family safe by being prepared with advanced planning and some basic supplies. Whether an earthquake, wildfire, or a Preemptive Public Safety Power Outage, being prepared will help everyone stay safer during an electrical power outage. 

These Controlled Power Outages will most impact those in high-fire-risk areas. There have been statewide efforts to mitigate the impact that natural disasters and fires have on our energy infrastructure. All Californians must be prepared in the event of a preemptive power outage. 

Sometimes the utility company will provide advance notice of a future power outage, but oftentimes it is unexpected. California wildfires in 2020 were the worst on record, with 5 (five) of the 6 (six) largest fires in the state’s history occurring last year. This means that the restoration time for the power to come back online could be extended in the future. 

California’s heat wave sheds light on major grid issues

The high temps may have subsided, but the problems they brought to the forefront remain

Californians are breathing a sigh of relief, although they might be mopping sweat off their foreheads while they’re doing it. It looks like the Golden State may get through the summer without serious rolling blackouts. Although the hot days are far from over, concerns about the state’s power grid being unable to keep up with demand were greatest over Labor Day weekend earlier this month. A worst-case scenario was avoided, but only with many people voluntarily conserving energy to keep the demand from exceeding what the grid could bear – and the problem isn’t going away any time soon.

Power disruptions in California haven’t made many national headlines since the electricity crisis that sparked political turmoil and played a major part in the eventual recall of Governor Gray Davis in the early 2000s. In recent years, however, fears of major outages have returned. In August 2020, hundreds of thousands of Californians lost power during a rolling blackout in the midst of a heat wave.

Earlier this month, all of the elements were in place for another serious disruption, with temperatures surpassing 110 degrees in some parts of the state. The state’s biggest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, reported that they had warned 525,000 customers that they could lose power on the evening of Tuesday,

September 6. The state broke a 15-year-old record for power consumption that day, with electricity use reaching 52 gigawatts. Emergency alerts were issued via text messages, all but begging customers to conserve power by turning off appliances and (in spite of the heat) moderating their use of air conditioning. Data shows that Californians responded strongly to the appeal, driving demand down enough to avoid the large-scale blackouts that would have occurred if the grid had been pushed past its limits – although USA Today reported that some Northern California residents did briefly lose power simply due to a communication error between utilities and the grid operating authorities.

Unfortunately, there’s little reason to be optimistic that California will be able to avoid similar crises in the future. Officials had warned back in May that factors like extreme heat would put the reliability of the state’s electrical grid in question for at least the next five summers. Effects of climate change like drought will strain the grid by compromising hydroelectric energy production. 

The rising popularity of electric vehicles is a positive for the environment in the longer term, but its immediate effect will be to increase demand for electricity, further pressuring the already-buckling grid.Parts of the existing grid infrastructure are also outdated and in need of repair or replacement; the effects of the 2022 heat wave were worsened by several fossil fuel power plants breaking down right when they were needed most.

The reality is that every day Californians will almost certainly be asked to keep sacrificing to prevent outages – and despite the admirable civic-minded response from Californians to the appeals to limit their energy usage, there is no mechanism for compensating those who conserve. “Time of use” billing structures charge customers more for using energy during times of peak demand, which effectively gives utilities the power to punish customers for using energy, but customers who conscientiously limit their usage receive no reward.

Reducing demand prevents the worst-case scenario of a widespread outage, but this is a bit like saying that avoiding starvation is a reward for being forced to ration food. Monopoly utilities are paid to provide energy and customers expect power to be there when it’s needed, but the utilities have proven that they can’t deliver.

With all of these facts taken into consideration, it’s clear that California’s brewing energy crisis is probably going to get worse before it gets better. There’s only one way for Californians to protect themselves from the risk of inconvenient (and possibly dangerous) utility outages, or from being asked to sacrifice to make up for the inadequacies of the utilities: gaining greater energy independence through a solar, home battery, and other renewable technologies.

Residential solar allows homeowners to produce their own energy, and when paired with home batteries, enables them to use it when they need it – including during grid outages. The freedom and flexibility of solar+storage frees you from having to worry about being charged more during peak demand periods, and from having to sacrifice your family’s comfort when utilities ask customers to conserve. When outages do occur, the ability to produce your own power and tap into stored power means you can get through the blackout with less disruption.

Solar and battery storage provide more than just comfort and peace of mind. Going solar gives you the financial reward for reducing grid demand that the utilities won’t. Homeowners who go solar usually start seeing lower bills immediately. The typical residential solar system in California pays for itself in well under 10 years – meaning that savings from the rest of the system’s warrantied lifespan (typically 25 years) become a profitable investment.

But in a larger sense, the true long-term reward from going solar is being part of the solution. The circumstances that have put California on the brink of an energy crisis – rising energy consumption and climate change – can ultimately only be addressed by transitioning to more sustainable sources of energy. Going solar is quite possibly the biggest step that a single family or individual can take to build a more sustainable future. It’s not just working toward a tomorrow where you and your neighbors don’t need to worry about heat waves and blackouts – it’s doing your part for the entire planet.

Expect Unexpected Controlled Power Outages

Southern California Edison (SCE), Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and other utilities will initiate a power shutoff during extreme weather conditions. The primary objective of the utility companies is to ensure that their equipment does not start a catastrophic wildfire due to high winds, extreme heat, earthquakes, etc.

As a solar installation company, we understand that these power outages are painful and significantly impact California homes and businesses. Especially those in high-fire-risk areas have already been affected numerous times while working and learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nobody wants to be without air conditioning, lights, or internet during an extended power outage. We see statewide adoption of battery backup solutions because of the record number of power outages impacting California. 

What are Utility-Initiated Public Safety Power Shut-offs?

If weather conditions indicate extreme fire danger or risk of equipment failure, utility companies will temporarily shut off power to some customers in the areas most at risk of wildfires. These conditions are present during strong winds, low humidity, and dry vegetation. They are essentially minimizing a fire threat to electric structures or public safety risk. 

What can You Do to Prepare for an Extended Power Outage?

When an emergency occurs, you could be without power for an extended period. Have an emergency plan in place for every member of your household, including pets. 

Keep necessities on hand. These include: 

  • Medical prescriptions
  • Canned Goods
  • Water 
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Supply of Essentials in an easy-to-access location

In addition, to be physically prepared, it is also essential to be mentally prepared with the correct information. One part of your preparation should include knowledge about your city or county’s emergency plans. In addition, if you have an electric gate or garage door, learn how to operate them manually. For example, if you are in a gated community, do you know how the electric gate will function and if you will be able to travel in and out of your community?

Southern California Edison Medical Baseline Residents

If you depend on electrically powered medical equipment, you should plan to have a backup power source. Southern California Edison provides eligible homeowners incentives to ensure that they can power their medical equipment even during an outage. Generators can help for a few hours, but there are dangers when you start hitting days without power. 

Reliable Backup Power Supply Solutions

California is slowly moving away from being as reliant on the power grid. With solar energy, homeowners now have a cheaper source of power. With solar + battery backup storage, you now have a reliable power source that can be replenished with the sun. During extended power outages, having a reliable power supply can be critical. 

Latest on FormeSolar’s Power Outage Mitigation Efforts

latest forme solar info

We are passionate about reducing the negative impact of power outages. As pioneers in providing alternative power sources throughout California, we have already made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of homeowners and businesses by providing a more reliable source of power.

With over 200 kWh of Battery Backup Storage Systems installed across the state, we have established ourselves as a trusted provider of energy solutions. In the wake of recent power outages and prolonged restoration times, we have seen a surge in demand for battery storage options. This has enabled us to better serve communities in the most impacted areas, by offering a wider range of solutions to meet their energy needs.

Our goal is to help our customers make their homes and businesses more resilient to energy grid outages. By providing more options, we aim to ensure that they have access to the power they need, even during the most challenging times. We are committed to making a positive impact on the lives of our customers and the communities we serve. With our expertise, we can help you take control of your energy consumption and create a more secure and sustainable future.

Prepare for Wildfire Season and Looming Power Outages

Safety Tips During a Power Outage

  1. Stay away from downed power lines. If you happen to see one regardless of an outage, be sure to call 911. 
  2. Power outages in the area may impact traffic signals, so motorists should use extreme caution and treat all intersections as four-way stops.
  3. Disconnect all sensitive electrics to prevent damage or data loss
  4. Check emergency supplies to ensure that you have a battery-operated radio, flashlight, fresh batteries, and a cell phone portable charger.
  5. Use a flashlight instead of candles to avoid potential fire hazards in your home or business.
  6. During high wind, secure any temporary structures in your backyard or business, including backyard furniture and tents as well as patio equipment and covers. 
  7. If you use a backup diesel generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it. Connecting generators to household circuits creates a “back feed” which is dangerous to repair crews. 
  8. In case of any emergency, please follow the direction of local law enforcement and firefighters.

Looking for Ways to Reduce the Impact of Power Outages?

A solar battery storage system is the ultimate solution for homeowners seeking a reliable source of power. Not only does it provide a consistent flow of electricity during blackouts, but it also ensures that your home stays powered even when the sun isn't shining. This is particularly important in regions like California where power grid outages can be prolonged, making a solar battery essential for homeowners.

The cost of solar panels has stabilized, making now the perfect time to invest in a solar battery system. The combination of solar panels and a battery ensures that you are never without power, no matter what the circumstances may be. By installing a solar battery storage system in your home, you can break free from the limitations of the electrical grid and enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable energy.

At Forme Solar, we are dedicated to helping homeowners like you maximize your savings and take control of your energy consumption. With our expertise, you can feel confident in your decision to invest in a solar battery system that will provide you with peace of mind and long-term savings. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you power your home with the sun!