Heat Wave Knocked Out Power For Tens Of Thousands Of Los Angelenos

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Thousands of Southern California residents were left without power as a heat wave grips the area.

Around 15,000 Los Angeles residents were still without power Monday morning. The outages were a result of too much strain placed on the grid as people cranked up their air conditioning to escape the heat. The electric grid on Friday reached 6,256 megawatts, a record for a July day. Saturday exceeded 5,700 megawatts, the second-highest weekend day ever recorded in Los Angeles history.

The extremely high use of the grid comes as Los Angeles is undergoing a scorching heat wave.

The University of California Los Angeles recorded a temperature of 111 degrees on Friday, a record-setting number for that location. The previous record was set in September 20, 1939 with a temperature of 109 degrees. The Van Nuys Airport, Burbank Airport, Santa Ana, Ramona and Riverside all recorded record temperatures. Downtown Los Angeles, hitting 108 degrees on Friday, did not beat the all-time high of 113 set in September 2010, but it far surpassed the July 6 record of 94.

However, there is some controversy over the exact readouts of the temperature. Anthony Watts, a veteran meteorologist based in California, argues that the reported temperatures are from weather stations “compromised by heat sources and heat sinks.” Watts stated that heat sinks and other factors have likely made weather stations read the temperature a few degrees higher than it really was, skewing the records.

Utility crews have worked endlessly to bring relief to residents subjected to blistering heat with no air conditioning to compensate. While 15,000 people still had no power on Monday morning, it was an improvement of the 30,000 who were powerless a day before. (RELATED: California Debates Going ‘Carbon Neutral’ As Grid Worries Mount)

The power outages come as no surprise to those who have long warned that California was at risk of rolling blackouts.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the grid reliability watchdog in the U.S., cautioned that California was at potential risk of power outages during summer heat waves, with NERC officials stating in May that California has “potential reliability concerns” stemming from “a resource shortfall or a diminishing resource surplus.”

The state’s grid reliability issues largely due to closed down power plants and a lack of energy storage.

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