California Faces Potential for Rolling Blackouts Over Holiday Weekend, Cooling Center Opened in Topanga

Surfers and other beachgoers flock to the sand on Wednesday, May 13, the day LA County’s beaches reopened.

The operator of California’s electrical grid issued a statewide Flex Alert Thursday, Sept. 3, warning that temperatures over Labor Day Weekend will be 10 to 20 degrees higher than usual statewide–and with that heatwave could come rolling blackouts. 

Those whose power is cut or anyone without access to an air conditioner may go to one of LA County’s cooling centers. The closest cooling center to Malibu is located at the Topanga Library, at 122 N. Topanga Canyon Boulevard. The cooling center will be open Friday, Sept. 4 to Tuesday, Sept. 8, from 12 to 6 p.m.

Though the high temperatures will only last a few days, according to CalMatters, they could cause an energy shortfall. That shortfall could be so dire that also on Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency to free up additional energy capacity. 

State officials advised residents to turn off unnecessary lights, use fans and unplug unused power strips, lamps and appliances. 

“With air conditioners working overtime, it’s possible that electric supply might not be enough to meet all of the demand,” Jill C. Anderson, the Senior Vice President of Customer Service at Southern California Edison echoed in a video posted to the company’s Twitter. Anderson also recommended residents pre-cool their homes before the 3 to 9 p.m. block of time where the electrical grid is most stressed and sign up for SCE programs where “[the company] will pay you for reducing your energy use.”

Only last month, California instituted its first rolling blackouts in nearly two decades as the state was choked by smoke in the Central Valley and Northern California due to multiple wildfires. 

Weather forecasters predicted temperatures around Malibu would hit 95 degrees at the beach and up to 115 degrees inland. 

As of Friday, Sept. 4, LA County had not decided to close its beaches for the weekend, despite concerns for coronavirus spread among seashore crowds.