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Californians dodge another round of blackouts amid heat wave

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Children cool off in a park Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Fountain Valley, Calif. The state is in a days-long heat wave that has stressed the electrical system and resulted in rolling blackouts over two nights last weekend. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

SAN FRANCISCO – Californians dodged another round of rolling blackouts Wednesday thanks to conservation measures as the searing heat wave roasting the West once again strained the state's electrical grid, officials said.

“Conservation, imported energy and wind production were key factors for avoiding emergency stages" through Wednesday, the California Independent System Operator tweeted during the late afternoon.

However, a so-called Flex Alert calling or voluntary reduction in electrical use remained in place until 9 p.m.

It was the third night in a row that projected rolling power outages were avoided.

Utilities were ordered to rotate power cuts of up to two hours among customers last Friday and Saturday. Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered an investigation into those blackouts and urged consumers to keep conserving power.

The state has been in the grip of an oppressive, humid weather system for days, sending temperatures into triple digits in many areas.

“Some have described this high pressure as a heat dome that has impacted not just the state of California but the entire West coast of the United States," Newsom said.

While there was continuing competition for resources throughout the region, the outlook for importing energy into California improved Wednesday, there was more wind power and no more cloud cover issues for solar production, Cal ISO President Steve Berberich said,

The wildfires raging in many parts of California had so far not affected power transmission lines, he said.

“We are quite mindful that people are fatigued," Berberich said. “We believe if we can get through today, the load numbers start to come down as the week goes on and then we get into the weekend."

The electrical load predicted for the start of next week appeared high, but the forecast and resources would become more clear closer to that time, he said.