The West Coast is experiencing a heatwave, putting pressure on energy supply across multiple states. A Flex Alert has been issued by Cal ISO from Sunday, August 16 through Wednesday, August 19. These alerts are issued when the electricity grid is under stress because of generation or transmission outages, or from persistent hot temperatures.
See current Watches, Warnings or Advisories from the National Weather Service.
CALL TO ACTION
We all have a responsibility to check on our family, friends, and neighbors, especially our elders, those with disabilities, and our children. Please take a moment to check-in on each other, especially the most vulnerable among us. We are stronger together.
Our top priority at the Health and Human Services Agency is the health and well-being of the most vulnerable.
Older Californians, individuals with disabilities, and those with medical needs are extremely vulnerable. If they have to leave their homes, please remember a few things:
- Be sure they bring their Durable Medical Equipment, if possible;
- Be sure they have their current medications, and a medication list;
- Be sure they have their medical equipment which needs power supply; and
- Be sure they have their dentures, eyeglasses, and any supplies need for multiple days.
A nonemergency hotline has been established to help medically vulnerable Californians and health and community care facilities find resources in their communities during power shutoffs.
The hotline is (833) 284-3473.
Assistance is available in many languages. 711 Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) are available for individuals with hearing or speech related disabilities. You can find more information on 711 TRS.
Tips to Conserve Energy
Between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m., we urge you to:
- Set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees, if health permits.
- Defer use of major appliances.
- Turn off unnecessary lights.
- Unplug unused electrical devices.
- Close blinds and drapes.
- Use fans when possible.
Additional steps and guidance for individuals & businesses:
Adjust Your Thermostat
- During peak hours or when you’re not home, remember to set your thermostat at 78° or higher. Setting your air conditioner 5° higher can save up to 20 percent on cooling costs.
- Pre-cool your home by running air conditioning at 72 degrees in the early part of the day (when it is more efficient) then turn your system to 78 or higher during the hottest part of the day when demand is the highest.
- Use smart or programmable features to help maintain energy savings when you’re not home.
Close Windows and Doors
- Keep windows and doors closed to prevent the loss of cooled or heated air.
- On summer nights, open windows to let cooler air in when safe. In the morning before the day starts to heat up, close windows and blinds to keep warm air out.
- Tilt blinds up and close drapes and shades on windows that receive direct sunlight.
Smart Energy Use
- Turn off unnecessary lighting and use task or desktop lamps with LEDs instead of overhead lights.
- Enable “power management” on all computers and turn off when not in use.
- Unplug phone charges, power strips (those without a switch) and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.
Access and Functional Needs
- Check in on neighbors, friends and family who may be at risk.
- Charge medical devices in off hours and have back up plan for if the power goes out.
- In addition to traditional community support channels, individuals with access and functional needs should reach out to local government for assistance.
- Contact local utilities companies if you are dependent on power for assistive devices.
Major Appliance Use
- Postpone using major appliances like the oven, dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer until cooler times of the day to avoid heating up your home.
- Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when full. Wait until after 9 p.m. to use these and other major appliances.
- When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90 percent of the energy used in a clothes washer goes to water heating.
Clean or Replace Your Filters
- A dirty filter forces your air conditioner and furnace to work harder, wasting money, using more energy or natural gas.
Adjust Your Water Heater
- Turn your water heater down to 120° or the “normal” setting. Water heating accounts for about 13 percent of home energy costs.
- Consider participating in your utility’s demand response program. These voluntary programs are short, temporary measures to reduce energy consumption when power supplies are critically low and a Flex Alert has been issued. Contact your local electric utility to learn about your utility’s program and incentives they may offer to participate.
Tips to Prevent Heat Related Illness
- Never leave infants, children or the frail elderly unattended in a parked car.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
- Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Use a hat and sunscreen as needed.
- Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage to replace salts and minerals lost during heavy sweating. (If a client/resident is on a low-sodium diet, check with his/her physician first.)
- During the hottest parts of the day, keep physical activities to a minimum and stay indoors in air-conditioning and out of the sun.
- Use fans as needed.
- Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate when appropriate.
- Use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths.
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals—they add heat to the body.
- Eat frozen treats.
Planning for People with Access and Functional Needs: Download the Personal Emergency Plan so that you can prepare and be ready in the event you lose power. Having a plan is important for any emergency. View the Personal Emergency Plan. The Personal Emergency Plan is also available in Spanish.