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Rolling Blackouts

Wrap-Up On 2020 Rolling Blackouts


Christmas is all about lights. Can you ever imagine that happy Christmas day can go dark, and you celebrate Christmas without colorful, beautiful lights around? Sad picture, isn’t it?  Unfortunately, it can become pretty real given that Rolling Blackouts were very active in 2020. Even recently, as days before Christmas, hundreds of thousands of consumers were at risk of experiencing power outages. So let’s look together over this year to see how much impact Rolling blackouts have on consumers?

After almost 20 years break, California Rolling Blackouts came to the stage as if they have never left before.  Since August, California has been hit hard by several heat waves, spreading plenty of wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes. Just for you to get a clearer picture, only Silverado Fire is responsible for burning 13,400 acres and evacuating more than 90,000 consumers. What’s worth mentioning here is that Southern California Edison is under the suspicion of igniting this fire with its equipment failures. Similarly, based on the fire investigation results, Easy and Maria Fires were also sparkled due to issues with electrical equipment. Hence, the August Rolling Blackouts were a result of technical failures. Based on rough estimates during August 14 and 15 intensive Rolling Blackouts, more than 800,000 consumers went dark to avoid overwhelming the grid. On August 14, around 500,000 businesses and homes experienced power outages on average 15 minutes. However, an additional 320,000 people lost their power for as long as 90 minutes on the following evening.


Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end. From August 17 to 19, as well as from September 2 to 7, hundreds of thousands of consumers were warned about the potential shortages, forced to cut off their electricity usage to avoid outages. The second stage of Alert was declared, which indicated that the situation was indeed critical. Several recommendations were announced to follow, including setting air conditioning degrees as low as possible, not using appliances that consume much electricity, unplug not used electrical devices, and limit opening refrigerators. This time blackouts didn’t hit as hard as during August, affecting only 18,000 customers around North County, Rolando Village, Pacific Beach. Spring Valley, and San Diego. December 8 was another date to mark in black.  During December, the absence of precipitation and dry vegetation, as well as increasing speed of winds, led to a higher risk of Rolling Blackouts.Utility companies warned their customers regarding potential shut offs during the month. Around 60,000 consumers had experienced outages around LA, Ventura, and Riverside Counties. 


Christmas celebration in the dark is a whole new nightmare to more than 600,000 consumers as wind speeds have increased. Edison International’s South California Utilities has announced that 121,830 homes across Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties can lose their power to prevent sparking fires. Sempra Energy likewise warned that 90,000 consumers might experience shutoffs. Already 17,000 customers have lost their power, which implies that the warning may eventually become a reality.

As, due to COVID 19 people were forced to stay home, leading their activities online, the  Rolling Blackouts effects are very much tangible.  The USA realizes that one of the ways out of this darkness is a complete shift and reliance on renewable energy. No wonder that by 2030 California planned to rely on 60% renewable energy, and by 2045 fully move to 100% renewable energy. Inexhaustible energy is not only a limitless source of energy that secures you from unprecedented outages, but also has no risk of causing any fires, unlike electrical equipment. Besides, fossil fuels are one of the biggest causes of climate warming, causing heat waves that demand more power usage. 


More than 9 million people live in conditions that are vulnerable to Rolling Blackouts. If you have been lucky enough not to go dark over this period, it doesn’t mean you are not susceptible to outages. Don’t wait up to being hit by it. Take your step to become independent from utility companies, hence decreasing the grid’s pressure and gaining the benefit of always having your own, inexhaustible, and cheap energy. 

Author of a publication: Elen Gevorgyan



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