Aug. 17 (UPI) — The manager of California’s power grid said an estimated 3.3 million homes and businesses in the state are likely to lose power amid rolling blackouts.
Steve Berberich, chief executive of the California Independent System Operator said that the rolling blackouts, entering their third night, could begin as early as 4 p.m. and last about six hours with outages being most widespread at about 7 p.m.
The state experienced blackouts on Friday and Saturday nights in a Stage 3 emergency affecting hundreds of thousands of households and businesses amid record temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley on Sunday afternoon.
The state is facing diminished imports of power due to the heatwave, Berberich said.
“I truly, truly wish there were other options,” said Berberich. “We’re going to do everything we can to narrow that gap.” Berberich announced his decision to retire in February, but the CAISO has not found his replacement yet.
John Phipps, the CAISO’s director of real-time operations, said another large blackout is likely Tuesday as the agency faces a deficit of 4,4000 megawatts on Monday afternoon.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for an investigation into the blackouts, saying he learned they would be taking place “moments” before they began.
“These blackouts which occurred without warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” Newsom wrote in a letter to CAISO, the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission.
Newsom criticized the operators of the electrical grids, saying they were “caught flat-footed” and ultimately unable to avert the blackouts and provide adequate warning to the public.
“Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians,” Newsom said. “This cannot stand.”