Opinion: The heat wave nearly broke our power grid and some of our readers were the victims
A heat wave is not that unusual. In fact, there are many heat waves in the U.S. each year. And many of them are very short-lived and do not cause power outages in our region.
But what makes this heat wave so unusual is that it started just like most others and just like the norm, just hours after a natural disaster, like a hurricane, that left more than a million people without electricity or running water.
In fact, it lasted an entire day.
The good news is, we knew the heat wave was coming. And we knew that, in its wake, it would be challenging for our power grid to take care of our needs like cooling and power. So, we knew that it would be a challenge when two of our neighbors — San Diego and San Francisco — were struck by a devastating flooding and the San Diego branch of the California Department of Transportation shut down for the first time since 2014.
The good news, if there is any, is that, while you may not be able to feel the heat, your power is safe. Our neighbors to the south can rest easy. Here’s how your power grid is working during this heat wave.
How we know the power is safe
In an effort to protect our power grid and the health and safety of our customers, on June 23, we activated a state-of-the-art alert system called PERS (POWER ENERGY RESOURCES).
Under PERS, the state is able to turn the power on to protect our power grid. In fact, on June 23, we did that for more than an entire day, until power was restored around midnight on Saturday, June 23.
We turned the power on for a short time — between 12:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. on Friday, June 22 — in order to have an alert system that could quickly detect what impact there might be, as the system is not designed to maintain continuous power during extreme weather events.
With the activation of PERS, more than 1,000 of our customers were connected