California heat spurs first rolling power outages since 2001

West

The sun sets through smoke created by the Ranch Fire, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Azusa, Calif. Heat wave conditions were making difficult work for fire crews battling brush fires and wildfires across Southern California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has ordered rolling power outages for the first time since 2001 as a statewide heat wave strained its electrical system.

The operator of the state’s power grid declared an emergency Friday evening and ordered utilities to shed their power loads. Pacific Gas & Electric said it would turn off power to about 200,000 to 250,000 customers in rotating outages for about an hour at a time.

The emergency declaration was lifted shortly before 10 p.m.

The move came as temperatures around the state hit triple digits in many areas, and air conditioning use soared.

The last time the state ordered rolling outages was during an energy crisis in 2001. Power grid operators say they’ll decide whether to continue the outages on a day-to-day basis.

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