Homeowners adapting to conserve power as triple digit temps scorch Southland

A record-breaking heat wave has settled over Southern California, expected to bring triple digit temperatures to millions of residents over Labor Day Weekend. As state officials issue warnings for reoccurring flex alerts and an increased strain on the power grid, some people are employing energy-saving tactics to reduce the strain on their own wallets. 

Joy Lamb, who lives in Altadena, has taken a series of steps to reduce the power usage coming from her home that was originally built in the 1920s. 

She showcased her home to CBS reporter Jasmine Viel, who noted the drastic temperature difference from outside and the cool air blowing throughout the house from Lamb’s individual heating and cooling units installed in each room. 

“If I turn on the AC and the sun is up, that’s what powers the AC,” she said. “It saves a lot.”

On top of that, Lamb has insulated the walls and installed both new windows and 16 solar panels on the roof of her home. She now estimates that she uses about 10 to 15 kilowatt hours a day — half of what an average household in Los Angeles County uses.

“We have climate change! It’s getting hotter and hotter,” she said. “This is the only right way of things to do, it only makes sense.”

Lamb is one of the many Southern Californians taking the extra steps to reduce her usage as the California Independent System Operator issued a pair of back-to-back Flex Alerts on Wednesday and Thursday during the peak hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., when most people are expected to turn on their air conditioning and utilize other large home appliances. 

Despite their efforts, California officials are still concerned about the unavoidable strain the heat wave poses to the power grid. California Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference on Wednesday to urge residents to cut back on their power usage. 

“Try not to use too much electricity in those key hours,” he said. “Try to reduce your consumption to the extent possible.”

To compensate for the expected strain, SoCal Edison workers dropped off a load of new transformers to their facility yard in Compton, where they were preparing for the inevitable failure of old transformers. 

“When we see overnight temperatures staying above maybe 80 degrees, that’s when we’re gonna see problems,” said a SoCal Edison spokesperson.

In order to reduce their own power usage, residents were urged to turn off unnecessary lights and appliances and completely shut down or at least set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher. 

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