The National Weather Service posted excessive heat warnings across Southern California, southern Arizona and into central Utah. The heat was forecast to begin tapering off tomorrow.
“The heat today is dangerous,” Ken Clark, a meteorologist at AccuWeather, said in a telephone interview. “It is exceptionally hot. Even some of the coastal cities, it’s going to get up around 100 and some of those places don’t have air conditioning because they don’t typically get that hot.”
California’s main grid operator called on residents to turn off unneeded lights and avoid using major appliances to prevent blackouts. Los Angeles and other cities opened public libraries and senior centers to those in need of cooling. In Riverside, the city started operating water splash areas in public parks that had been shut because of the drought.
The heat wave will be the first big test of the Southern California grid after a historic natural gas leak that resulted in constrained supplies of the power plant fuel. The state has warned that the region risks as many as 14 days of blackouts this summer due to the leak. Sempra Energy’s Aliso Canyon storage facility has been shuttered since methane spewed uncontrollably from a broken well for nearly four months starting in October.
“We are confident we have a strong plan in place to meet the operational challenges posed by the upcoming hot temperatures,” California Independent Systems Operator’s chief executive officer, Steve Berberich, said in a statement. “Conservation efforts by consumers are key to reducing stress on the system and to help avoid service disruptions.”
Peak electricity demand is expected to reach 45,316 megawatts Monday, California ISO said. The all-time record peak of 50,270 megawatts was set in July 2006.
The spot price for power at Southern California’s SP15 hub surged as high as $541.92 a megawatt hour at 11 a.m. local time, according to Genscape data compiled by Bloomberg. Prices are quoted on 5-minute basis. Spot-on peak prices were up 48 percent to average $37.20.
Natural gas generators were supplied last week with fuel needed to meet demand for the high temperatures, said Steven Greenlee, a spokesman for the grid. The state has electricity capacity reserves and no reports of major transmission line failures or generation shutdowns, he said.
Edison International’s Southern California Edison, which operates the region’s biggest electric utility, said it had mobilized its emergency operation center and was deploying crews that can rapidly respond to service disruptions.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti extended hours at several of the city’s cooling centers so residents without air conditioning could remain as late as 9 p.m. on Monday. In Palm Springs, where temperatures were expected to hit 123, special education summer school was canceled Monday, said Joan Boiko, a spokeswoman for the school district.
An afternoon United Airlines flight to Phoenix returned to Houston on Sunday because the heat was too intense for it to land, according to Maddie King, a spokeswoman for the airline. A new flight was added Monday morning to accommodate the passengers. The plane was operated by Mesa Airlines.