A major heat wave puts an aging network under tension. Authorities are asking to reduce energy use from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sun sets behind a network of electrical cables in Redondo Beach, California.
Californians were ordered not to charge their electric cars on Wednesday, so as not to further burden an aging electricity grid, energized by a dreaded heat wave.
Last week, the state announced a ban on the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2035. Temperatures reaching 44 degrees were expected in suburban Los Angeles, as a heat dome towers over the ;American West.
The sweltering weather is expected to strain an already strained power grid, especially during the hottest hours when air conditioning systems — a staple in the United States — are running at full blast.
Consumers are urged to reduce their energy use between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., when the system is most energized, as demand remains high and there is less solar energy available , said the American Public Power Association, an organization that represents utilities.
The three main recommended measures: set the thermostat to 25°C or more, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turning off unnecessary lights, the organization said.
Electricity is a sensitive subject for the State, whose infrastructure is dilapidated.
Electricity companies regularly ask households to limit their consumption during certain hours, when solar panels stop producing electricity while demand remains high, due to the heat.
But the call not to charge your electric car has been widely mocked on social networks, at a time when the State is promoting this type of vehicle.
California just made electric vehicles mandatory AND asks residents not to charge them between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., Republican Senator Tom Cotton quipped on Twitter.
On Thursday, the Californian authorities announced that new cars sold should be zero polluting emissions from 2035 at the latest.
The decision had been seen as a turning point for the electric car industry, with California representing an important automotive market and potentially influencing national or international standards.
The US Weather Service (NWS) has issued an excessive heat alert for the majority of California, as well as parts of Arizona and Nevada.
Dangerously hot temperatures are expected until Sunday evening, the weather service warned, warning of the health risks posed by the heat wave.
Those without access to an adequate and reliable air conditioning system and a source of hydration are most at risk, but a large portion of the population is likely to suffer the effects.
The night will bring little relief, with temperatures not dropping below 26°C in many places.
In Southern California, heat waves are not unusual in September, but mercury above 37°C is considered very hot, even for an area known for near-permanent sunshine.
This heat wave comes as large swathes of the southwest of the country have recently been hit by thunderstorms of rare intensity and torrential rains.
Desert Death Valley was flooded, and one person died after being swept away by a flood in Utah's famous Zion National Park on Friday. for its red rock cliffs and canyons.
Scientists have been warning for years about the impact of global warming, caused in particular by the use of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases , and which now appears in broad daylight for millions of people.
Heat waves are becoming more extreme, while storms that were once rare weather events are becoming more intense and more frequent.