As a sweltering heat wave has gripped Southern California for days, managers of the state's power grid said on Monday they had plenty of electricity available to handle anticipated peaks in power usage, but fear power outages if energy use continues to be consumed at its current rate.
Officials with Southern California Edison and the Department of Water and Power urged residents to conserve power.
"The generation picture, the actual power customers are consuming, looks very good today," Steven Conroy, a Southern California Edison spokesman, said. "So what you're seeing is that our customers are using a lot of energy during the day. That's normal. But they're really, really using a lot at night."
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He said from 6 p.m. to midnight, equipment doesn't have enough time to cool off and that's why it's failing. Some 3,000 Southern California Edison customers lost power in Los Angeles and Orange counties from overheated transformers on Sunday afternoon and evening.
As of 11:50 p.m. Monday, the LADWP said about 6,000 customers were without power, most of it split between the Hollywood area and Valley. The bulk of the Valley outages were random and in the Valley Glen, North Hollywood and Sherman Oaks areas.
Meanwhile, Edison said it was working on 126 outages that knocked out power to 15,000 customers. The Los Angeles area had 72 outages, leaving 4,800 customers without power. The largest LA outage was in Pico Rivera with 797 customers and Inglewood with 428 customers. There were 15 outages in the San Bernardino area, leaving about 7,395 customers without power.
Edison's big concern is Tuesday and the rest of the week.
Edison opened its Emergency Activation Center in Irwindale to provide a central coordination center to monitor and respond to outages.
The utility also canceled all planned maintenance outages that could be deferred.
DWP officials said the utility broke its all-time record for energy demand and issued another call for customers to conserve power.
The demand was at 6,196 megawatts, surpassing the previous all-time record of 6,177 megawatts set on September 27, 2010.
The peak demand was nearly double the amount of energy demand experienced on a typical day in the city of Los Angeles.
The DWP currently is forecasting that it will break today’s record again Tuesday and exceed 6,200 megawatts as heat-wave temperatures continue.
"Under these extreme conditions, our system is holding up quite well, but we urge our customers to continue to conserve to reduce strain on the grid," said General Manager Marcie Edwards. "Conserving electricity can help prevent a local power outage if you take simple steps like setting your thermostat to 78 degrees, turning off pool pumps and giving your appliances the day off tomorrow. Days like today are an important reminder that we must continue to plan for and invest in our infrastructure to ensure reliable service for our customers as demand increases and weather gets more erratic and intense."
Officials also encourage residents to conserve energy by closing curtains and blinds and turning off lights.
City News Service contributed to this report.