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Power transmission lines. (Photo: Wikipedia)

‘Get Used to It:’ California’s Rolling Blackouts, Power Outages

Gov. Newsom warns: Be prepared for more power outages as heatwave continues

By Katy Grimes, August 17, 2020 3:47 pm

At Gov. Gavin Newsom’s press conference Monday, he discussed the state’s heatwave, record temperatures throughout the state, and the rolling blackouts millions have to deal with over the very hot weekend. The California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) began the rolling blackouts Friday evening as temperatures stayed in the triple digits. Blackouts were ordered again Saturday evening as temperatures reached 111 degrees in Sacramento, even as Californians pay the highest energy bills in the country.

In Sacramento it hit 109 degrees Friday and 111 degrees Saturday. And notably, most businesses and event venues are closed down under the governor’s lockdown order. So the energy users in California should be using less power, not more.

However, while the governor said he is investigating the power outages this weekend, he also said Californians need to get used to it.

Roger Voudouris. (Photo: youtube)

Which reminds me of a Sacramento guy I knew… Roger Voudouris was a one-hit-wonder whose Billboard Hot 100 in 1979 was “Get Used To It.”  Terrible song, worse video, and I never bought the 8-track tape. But the message is “accept that a particular state of affairs is inevitable.”

No one likes to be told to “get used to it.” But hey – it was a Top 4 Australian hit.

Apparently, our “get used to it” is that Californians need to conserve more energy when it’s 110 degrees outside – when we need reliable power the most.

The Governor Demands Investigation into Power Outages

Gov. Newsom signed an emergency proclamation Monday which “temporarily allows some energy users and utilities to use backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the grid during peak times during the energy emergency.”

Newsom warned that energy company ratepayers and customers may lose power again this week as the triple digit temperatures “strain the state’s power grid.”

The Cal ISO issued a statewide Flex Alert, asking consumers to conserve electricity Sunday through Wednesday between the hours of 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Monday the California Independent System Operator says it will likely order utility companies to turn off power starting around 4 p.m. as demand for electricity to cool homes soars during the hottest part of the day beyond the power available in the grid, Associated Press reported.

Governor Newsom sent a letter to CAISO, the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission demanding an investigation into the service disruptions that occurred over the weekend and the energy agencies’ failure to predict and mitigate them. “I write today to express my deep concern about the broadscale de-energizations experienced by too many Californians on August 14 and 15th. These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” Governor Newsom wrote. “Residents, communities and other governmental organizations did not receive sufficient warning that these de-energizations could occur. Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians. This cannot stand. California residents and businesses deserve better from their government.”

Monday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to free up additional energy capacity, with the West Coast heat wave projected to intensify over the coming days.

Why is the state’s power grid strained?

Earlier this month, California Globe reported that the Center for Jobs and the Economy at the California Business Roundtable announced that California gas and energy prices continued to rise higher in July than nearly all other states. “These outcomes mean that even as many households struggle under the current economic conditions, the state’s energy policies continue to take an increasing share of household incomes both directly in gasoline and utility bills and indirectly as these costs are incorporated into the prices of every other component of the costs of living,” the Center for Jobs and the Economy reported.

Just over one year ago in June 2019, California Globe reported that the Sacramento Municipal Utility District began charging Sacramento electricity users and ratepayers a new rate system that charges residential users higher rates between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m… much higher rates, just in time to get home from work, feed the family, do a couple loads of laundry, bathe the kiddies, maybe vacuum a room or two, and watch a little Netflix.

These new summer “peak” rates appear to be about 40% – 200% higher, looking at the bill, the Globe reported.

Why are California gas and energy prices rising higher than nearly all other states? My electricity provider, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), claims that I’m using 74% more energy than I did last year at this time. Why?

California ISO CEO and President Steve Berberich said the state is short about 4,400 megawatts, which equates to about 3.3 million homes, AP reported. But why is the state 4,400 megawatts short?

As California Globe reported last year, and has been covering since 2011:

In 2011, California passed the Renewables Portfolio Standard setting the mandate at 33 percent renewable energy by 2020. When it became clear that California was nearly there, in 2015, the Legislature moved the bar again and passed SB 350 the “Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015.” SB 350 by Sen. President pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), requires the state to procure 50 percent of electricity from renewable energy and double energy efficiency savings by 2030. In 2018, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 100, setting a 100 percent clean electricity goal for the state, and issued an executive order establishing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality – both by 2045.

These mandates leave utility companies no wiggle room.

Using more renewable energy causes the entire electricity grid to be unreliable because sun and wind are intermittent and inconsistent.

Only one year after adopting SB 350, the announcement in 2016 from PG&E that it was closing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant ironically came on the same day there were rolling blackouts in Los Angeles amid sweltering temperatures. PG&E said they planned to replace the loss of the cheap, clean nuclear energy with renewable energy.

Do California residents really need to “Get Used To It?” Lawmakers and government energy officials continue to take clean nuclear power offline, they are fighting to remove the hydroelectric power provided by the Klamath Dam, and they’ve outlawed hydraulic fracturing for recoverable oil and gas in the Monterey Shale Formation. The state ignores its vast onshore and offshore deposits, which are fully accessible through conventional and hydraulic fracturing technologies.


Read more about California’s renewable energy mandates and power shortages:

California Power Outages: Extreme Weather, Extreme Energy Shortages, or Extreme Litigation? There is no increase in summer temps, but the renewable energy mandate is being ramped up, and;

Green Power Project Jolts Citizens, for a look into the state’s renewable energy mandate of 2011, and immediate repercussions. 

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18 thoughts on “‘Get Used to It:’ California’s Rolling Blackouts, Power Outages

  1. The investigation will blame everyone and everything but the real culprits. This will be a white wash that might as have only two words – global warming. Newsom will use this report to reduce energy use (no AC) and to raise rates ever higher.

  2. Again Calif Politicians are obeying the United Nations Agenda 21 and 2030. Which involves the global Communist takedown of our power infrastructure. If we don’t stop it soon we may be too late.

  3. A friend sent me this:
    –Most if not ALL retail businesses are closed.
    –Most if not ALL schools are closed.
    –Most if not ALL colleges are closed.
    –Most if not ALL bars and restaurants are closed.
    –Most if not ALL govt offices are closed and minimum staffed.
    –Most if not ALL indoor malls are closed.
    –Most if not ALL museums, theaters, theme parks, are closed.
    –Most if not ALL concerts and live events have been canceled.
    –Most if not ALL live audience sports events are canceled.

  4. Cali politicians like to brag that if California was a country it would have the 5th largest economy in the world!
    Just forget that California has:
    -18% living in poverty
    -12% of U.S. population, 33% of all welfare cases
    – Crumbling roads
    – Rolling blackouts
    – Water restrictions
    – Major cities that look like Haiti after an earthquake

  5. Can Governor Newsom launch an investigation into his own incompetence? Is the Newsom family still living (hiding) out up in Montana where his children can run around mask free without getting a fine? Will Gov Newsom have unrestricted air conditioning in his new 3.4 million dollar home that was “gifted” to him?

  6. Gov Newsom said, “I cannot mandate anything.”

    Its against the law for a gov to create law.

    There are laws on the books.

    Why do businesses comply?

    Please view The Healthy American.org. by Peggy Hall. All legal codes, laws, and HOW to take back our lives! Its in our hands!

    And sign Recall Gavin 2020 Petition!

    1. You and Peggy are incorrect . Newsom has extensive power to address the pandemic, including requiring face coverings. It’s all cited in the California Emergency Services Act It’s through the It’s the same law he used to justify his statewide stay-at-home order in March. Through that law, “the State Legislature has given the Governor broad authority to That’s the authority under which the governor declared an emergency on March 4. That transfers all the authority of the state to the governor, to the extent necessary, to address the COVID emergency. Jessica Levinson, who teaches at Loyola Law School, also said Newsom has the legal authority to require face coverings. “Short answer – He does. Medium answer – He sure does. Longer answer – He sure as hell does,” Levinson added in a phone interview that the state has “broad authority when it comes to health and welfare measures.” Peggy Hall doesn’t know what she is talking about, she is not a medical doctor or a constitutional lawyer

  7. So funny, Katy —- and it’s true: “terrible song, worse video.” And yet that song and video hit me now like a little slice of heaven compared to the taste of hell we are enduring now.
    I’m nominating you for Most Appreciated Reporter in California because you have been covering this subject forever and believe me, it is appreciated. Now that we are living it I know this coverage will resonate with Californians even more.

  8. Newsom has come out and said “uh, the wind didn’t blow so we had a huge energy shortfall” (paraphrase) but as I predicted he has doubled down on the green gobbledygook.

    You can’t fix stupid.

  9. Since CPUC ruled that the utilities adopt socialized utility rates (i.e. S.C.E. Daily kWh allocation of 12. 6 for zone 8 and 46.4 for zone 15) plus no new oil, gas or nuclear generation, we will continue on this downward slope which has been imposed by our Ca. government. Utility rates will continue to rise to curb demand. Dare we turn on a A/C or an electric cooktop. And Newsome who just proposed getting rid of 3 hydroelectric dams on the Oregon/CA border is going to get the bottom of this problem.

  10. Love your work Katie, keep up the pressure!
    Hydroelectric plant at Oroville dam frequently burns water discharges without generating electricity because of requirements to purchase excess solar. Doesn’t seem right.
    Ps. No rolling…only rotating outages.

  11. Thank G-d for you, I’ve just opened, in sequence, all of John Fleischman’s listed columns on the energy black out including one very critical of President Trump’s critique of California’s Rolling Black Out situation and this one, ironically, was last. The ONLY one containing the entire situation is Ms. Grimes, self awareness is a lost trait here in the Golden State. Everything I read about renewable energy 15 years ago has proved true, I just lament the cost to the Taxpayer to prove this point. If debated instead of shouting “DENIER” we may have saved Billions.

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