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Holiday Heat Wave Could Stress The Power Grid To The Brink

Children cool off in the water play area at Grand Park in Los Angeles, California on July 5, 2018 ahead of a coming heatwave in the Los Angeles area. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images)
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Some — but not al — of the conditions are in place this long holiday heat-wave weekend for rolling power outages like those that occurred across California in mid-August.

Saturday will mark the first of three Flex Alert days when we’re asked to conserve power, especially between 3 and 9 p.m. Temperatures will be over 100 in many areas, pushing the demand for air conditioning and power nearly to the brink of what the power grid can supply.

But this time around, the weather in other Western states won’t be quite as hot as it was a few weeks ago. That means there should be less competition among utilities to procure extra electricity from out of state energy producers.

Still, power plant shutdowns, or a fire interrupting a power transmission line, could push the region to force conservation via rolling power outages.

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