As California suffered another day of record-breaking heat on Sunday, officials warned that to conserve energy, it may require power outages across the region that could affect millions of customers.
Power outages could occur during the peak evening hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to the California independent system operator, who runs the power grid for much of the state.
This could force utilities to cut power to 2.5-3 million customers across the state, Eric Schmitt, vice president of operations at California ISO, said at a news conference on Sunday.
The ISO urged consumers to save energy, especially during the peak load time from 3pm to 6pm.
"I think it's fair to say that without really significant upkeep and help from customers, we're going to have to have some rolling failures today," Schmitt said. "This is really an appeal to people to help us get through a very, very difficult day."
Should there be a power outage, Southern California will notify the affected customer as soon as possible by phone, text message and email, sadly Reggie Kumar, a spokesman for Edison from Southern California.
"We know that people work from home and the kids are studying online so we understand how disruptive these failures can be," he said. "At the direction of CAISO we will try to ensure that they are as short as possible and have the least impact on a customer group."
The outages typically last an hour and affect a neighborhood, not an entire community, Kumar said.
As of Sunday afternoon, the majority of Edison's 18,000+ reported outages in Southern California were in Los Angeles County, where more than 10,000 customers were without power. The largest outages are 1,203 in Inglewood and 1,126 in Paramount as of 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
The outages were heat and not fire related, Kumar said, but overall the power distribution system was going well.
As of Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Energy had enough power supplies and did not anticipate the need to implement rolling power outages, a DWP spokesman said.
The utility company had some minor power outages in West Adams, Reseda, Sun Valley, and Pacoima, among others. By Sunday morning, about 7,000 customers were without power, and crews had been working around the clock to restore power to 37,000 after temperatures and energy demands rose, according to the utility.
A historic heat wave has caused temperatures in the three-digit range in much of Southern California. Woodland Hills posted an all-time high of 121 degrees on Sunday, which was the hottest temperature recorded by an official weather station in the Los Angeles district, according to the National Weather Service.
It broke the old record of 119 degrees in July 2006 and was one of several records set to fall on Sunday. The weather service said Riverside had its highest temperature in September at 117 degrees. Santa Ana hit a record high for the day at 106. Idyllwild reached 103, setting a record.
Malibu Search and Rescue responded to several heat-related incidents on Saturday.
A woman in her late 40s was hiking on a trail in Calabasas in the Santa Monica Mountains when she felt sick and collapsed at 2 p.m., said Juanita Navarro, assistant sheriff for LA County.
She was pronounced dead at the scene. The official cause of death is still unknown, Navarro said.
In response to the dangerous heat wave, all roads in the Santa Monica Mountains are closed until Labor Day, Malibu Search and Rescue said in a tweet.
In the Angeles National Forest, the Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue team conducted an air rescue on a semi-conscious hiker with heat exhaustion on the popular Strawberry Peak Trail, where temperatures often rise on the route, which has little shade in the afternoon.
The hot weather has hampered fire fighting and heat-induced rescue efforts across the state.
In the Sierra National Forest northeast of Fresno, the 45,500-acre Creek Fire trapped more than 200 hikers in the Mammoth Pool Recreation Area when it crossed the San Joaquin River on Saturday afternoon, sparking massive rescue efforts by the California National Guard.
In Los Angeles County, the fast-moving Bobcat Fire quickly grew to 1,000 acres when it began on Sunday afternoon near the popular West Fork Picnic Area, a normally peaceful wooded area where many residents fish and swim in the cool San Gabriel River .
More than 300 firefighters in San Diego County attempted to slow the fast-moving 5,000 acre valley fire, fed by gusty winds that began Saturday and threatened the power lines that service much of San Diego County.
The El Dorado fire in San Bernardino County sparked more evacuations in Yucaipa as it grew to more than 3,000 acres by Sunday afternoon.
Hoist Rescue, hiker with heat exhaustion, Strawberry Peak Trail, Angeles Forest. #LASD Air Rescue 5 uses LASD SEB Tactical Medics to rescue semi-conscious hikers. Flown to the hospital. Very high temperatures today. Please do not hike without an adequate water supply. pic.twitter.com/ovfBhiRrKj
– SEB (@SEBLASD) September 5, 2020
The Times employee Sammy Roth contributed to this report.