Resources for Staying Safe During Extreme Heat

California and the rest of the Western Region face heatwaves in summer that put extreme pressure on our energy grid and at-risk older adults. Widespread and long-duration heatwaves can include temperatures ranging from the high 90s to 110+ degrees across the Central Valley, while inland areas of southern California sometimes range from 100 to 120 degrees, even hotter near Death Valley.

These temperatures are dangerous for a large segment of the population. Extreme heat significantly increases the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for older adults, children under four, people with existing medical conditions and those without access to air conditioning.

To avoid electricity shortages and to keep everyone cool (and with needed power), states like California are asking residents to reduce energy usage to prevent service interruptions. Consumers have delivered considerable conservation levels during the past few years, and every bit of conservation helps.

It’s especially important to limit energy usage from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on high heat days. These are considered peak hours when many households return home from school and work and turn up air conditioning and use major appliances. Limiting the use of energy and intensive technology during these peak hours is critical. A good strategy is to "over cool" your home overnight and in the morning so that it stays cool all day, but you use less energy during peak hours.

Sign up to receive Flex Alert notifications from your utility provider to help California conserve energy during times of grid stress, and read on below for additional resources, fact sheets as well as tips for conserving energy at home.

Conserving Energy at Home
  • Close window coverings and lower the thermostat to pre-cool your home.
    • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
    • Use smart or programmable features to help maintain energy savings when you’re not home.
    • Use fans for cooling.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights.
  • Unplug unnecessary devices and equipment when not in use.
  • Avoid using large appliances.
    • Clean or replace dirty filters.
    • Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees or to the "normal" setting.
  • Keep pets indoors during the hottest part of the day and provide cool fresh water.
Before Energy Saving Measures
  • Make sure all electronics and portable power banks are charged.
  • Turn off or unplug electrical appliances that could spark when power returns.
  • Make sure flashlights work and have backup batteries.
  • Know how to open garage doors manually.
  • Fill up gas tanks in case outage impacts gas stations.
  • Keep cash on hand in case outage impacts ATMs.
  • Stock First Aid supplies and medications.