Soaring demand in California as residents reached for the air conditioning in the face of soaring summer temperatures led to the California ISO coming close to issuing a stage 2 alert in preparation for load shedding.

Consumer response to conservation requests saw more than 1000MWe of forecast usage across the state cut bringing a system peak of 47,843MWe as a series of hot days cut reserve margins to just 7%.

The peak demand was forecast at 49,500MWe against an all-time record peak demand of 50,270MWe.

A regional heat wave is lowering imports from the southwest while a low hydroelectricity level throughout the state – about 1GWe below normal – has resulted from the dry winter.

A Stage Two Electrical Emergency is declared when reserves drop below 5% and at this level, large commercial customers on interruptible contracts will see supplies curtailed.

According to ISO vice president of operations Jim Detmers: “Regional hot temperatures drove high energy demand in many parts of the West.”

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