Cooling center added in Menlo Park plus state-wide Flex Alert issued

by Contributed Content on September 5, 2020

Facebook has been added as a cooling center in addition to the Onetta Harris Community Center and Arrillaga Family Recreation Center.

1 Facebook Way, Zone 21.8 [covered parking structure]
Saturday, Sunday, Monday
11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Vehicle parking, water bottles, hand sanitizer and face masks available. Social distancing and face coverings required.

The following heat safety tips are recommended during high-temperature days:
-Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated throughout the day.
-If you must go out, plan your day to avoid going out during the hottest hours and wear sunscreen. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes, and bring a hat or umbrella with you.
-Cars get very hot. Never leave children or pets in vehicles and call 9-1-1 if you see a child or pet in a car alone.
-Beware of heat-related illness, like heat stroke, and call 9-1-1 if you see these symptoms: high body temperature, vomiting, and pale and clammy skin.
-Check on those at risk, like those who are sick, older adults, pregnant women, and children, and those who live alone.
-Avoid strenuous workouts wearing face coverings or masks not intended for athletic purposes.

In addition, a statewide Flex Alert will be in effect beginning Saturday and extending through Monday from 3:00–9:00 pm each day. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) issues a Flex Alert when the electricity grid is under stress because of generation or transmission outages or from persistent hot temperatures. Consumers are urged to voluntarily conserve electricity to help avoid rotating outages.

Labor Day weekend temperatures are forecast 10-20 degrees above normal for California, and the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use. Overnight temperatures statewide don’t allow infrastructure to cool down. With forecasts above average, consumers can take the stress off the grid by lowering energy use between the hours of 3:00–9:00 pm., when temperatures remain high, and the sun is setting, removing thousands of megawatts of solar power from the system.

Conservation efforts during these times can prevent more desperate measures, such as rotating power outages, or generator equipment failures that can lead to more unplanned severe losses of power. CAISO recognizes that reducing energy use during the hot time of the day is a hardship, especially for those working and schooling at home. However, if a large number of consumers do their part in small ways, conservation can make a difference.

Between the hours of 3:00–9:00 pm. on Flex Alert days, the CAISO urges consumers to:
-Set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees, if health permits
-Defer use of major appliances
-Turn off unnecessary lights
-Unplug unused electrical devices
-Close window blinds and drapes
-Use fans when possible
-Limit time the refrigerator door is open

Consumers can also take steps to prepare for the Flex Alert by doing the following before 3:00 pm each day:
-“Pre-cool” homes or lower air conditioning thermostats
-Charge electric vehicles
-Charge mobile devices and laptops
-Run dishwashers, washing machines and other major appliances

Visit the PG&E Rolling Outages website for information about whether you could be subject to a CAISO rotating outage. View information on system alerts, warnings, emergencies and follow grid conditions in real-time at California ISO’s Today’s Outlook, and for details on Flex Alerts and electricity conservation tips, visit the CAISO’s Flex Alert website.

InMenlo file photo (c) 2012

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