Weather Alert

Record-breaking heat wave puts strain on states’ power grids

▶ Watch Video: Heat wave strains Texas power grid

Much of the South and West have had no relief from the scorching heat. More than 46 million Americans are under heat advisories, with temperatures rising well above 100 degrees in some places. 

Palm Springs, California, hit 113 degrees on Wednesday, down from a record 120 degrees on Tuesday. Triple-digit temperatures are also expected in the Bay Area later in the week, according to CBS San Francisco

The California Independent System Operator issued a heat bulletin urging residents to conserve energy as temperatures soared. 

“An abnormally strong ridge of heat is forecast to bring temperatures as high as 115 degrees to the California interior that could last until the weekend,” the agency said in a statement. “Because of the extreme heat and nighttime lows expected to cool off only between 78 and 83 degrees, the state’s electric grid will be straining to meet evening demand when air conditioners are in heavy use and solar energy generation is waning.”

Temperatures in Texas are also putting a strain on the power grid. Residents have been asked to conserve power four months after a deadly February cold snap paralyzed power plants across the state. The state’s grid is supposed to be built for heat but now many Texans are frustrated and worried that power plants are failing before summer. 

“We’ve been looking at the decay of the grid and the decay of reliable electricity provided to the grid for many years. Blackouts and brownouts would not surprise me,” said Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston. 

To conserve power, the state’s grid operator is asking Texans to keep their thermostat at 78 degrees for the rest of the week, even as temperatures outside hit the 90s and 100s. 

Residents in the San Francisco area are being asked to do the same. 


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