Automotive: California would prefer you not charge your electric vehicle this weekend

A multi-state heatwave will test California’s electric grid over Labor Day weekend as triple-digit temperatures hit millions of people simultaneously, prompting concern that the state could once again turn to rolling blackouts.

State officials hope to avoid that situation by asking residents to voluntarily use less power, even as the heat tempts Californians to crank up their air conditioners. Gov. Gavin Newsom also said the state has made infrastructure improvements since its last round of heat-fueled blackouts in 2020.

But if millions of people don’t conserve electricity, officials could be forced to cut the power temporarily in some regions for short periods of time.

The latest:

  • California officials say it will be tough to meet the unusually high demand for electricity during the heatwave.
  • The state’s calls for voluntary electricity conservation often work for a short time, but people struggle to cut back during longer heat events, according to Daniel Kammen, an energy professor at the University of California, Berkeley. One option is to ask electric car owners from charging their electricity hungry cars
  • Rolling blackouts don’t appear imminent — yet.