A unit of Ormand Beach Generating Station in Oxnard, pictured, went offline Wednesday night, in part prompting the Cal-ISO to issued a statewide Flex Alert on Thursday. Initially scheduled to last Friday through Sunday, the call to conserve power was cancelled for the weekend. It was still in effect for Friday, predicted to be the hottest day of a Southern California heat wave.
Though sweltering conditions throughout Southern California are expected to continue for the next few days, a statewide appeal to reduce power use was canceled for the weekend.
The "Flex Alert" announced Thursday remained in effect Friday, but the nonprofit organization that operates the state's power grid said it was no longer as critical that power users conserve electricity through the weekend.
"While conservation is helpful over the weekend, it is not critical. And we have committed to Californians that we will only issue a Flex Alert when needed," said Stephanie McCorkle with the California Independent System Operator, or Cal-ISO, which controls the power grid.
"Today it is critical, so keep up the good work," she added.
For Friday, the alert called on residents to set air conditioning to 78 degrees or higher, postpone major appliance use till after 6 p.m. and generally turn off unnecessary electricity-using devices and lights.
Cal-ISO said expected demand for electricity was predicted to be lower over the weekend than it was for Friday.
The alert issued Thursday was triggered in part by a gas-fired power plant in Ventura County that went offline late Wednesday night, according to Steven Greenlee, a spokesman with Cal-ISO, which issued the Flex Alert.
"That was 775 megawatts that we certainly didn't want to lose at this particular time. That was just a little bit more shaving off of our supply margin, and that did contribute to the Flex Alert," Greenlee said.
He said he was unsure when the unit at the approximately 40-year-old Ormond Beach Generating Station in Oxnard would be back online. Cal-ISO officials also said divulging when the plant returns to operation could lead to speculating in the energy market.
A call to the plant's owner – GenOn Energy, a Texas-based corporation – was not immediately returned Friday.
Greenlee added that Cal-ISO is seriously considering issuing another alert for Monday, when electricity demand typically surges. Later in the day Friday, Cal-ISO officials said they had determined they would not need to call an alert for Monday.
Calls to conserve electricity Thursday and Friday were echoed by Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, among other utility providers.
Edison, which is hampered by the continuing closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, said it had been preparing for possible outages by having extra repair crews available through the weekend.
The Los Angeles County's Metro said it would run trains a slower rate to save 8 percent on energy consumption.
Friday was predicted to be the hottest day of a heat wave that started earlier in the week.
Record highs were recorded Thursday in Woodland Hills (109), Lancaster (109), and Sandberg (98), which is north of Castaic. Record highs were also set in Woodland Hills, Lancaster and Sandberg Tuesday.
An excessive heat warning was issued by the National Weather Service for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday in the San Gabriel, San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, and in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains.
Daytime temperatures "well above 100 degrees" were forecast for inland areas Friday and in some places through Saturday.
The high temperatures, combined with high humidity, could lead to "heat illnesses," the service said.
The death Wednesday of a 49-year-old woman, Cindy Marie Grycel, in San Bernardino, was thought to have been heat related, according to a press release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department. Grycel was found lying on the ground next to her wheelchair and never regained consciousness after being taken to a hospital.