(Bloomberg) -- As many as two million Californians were plunged into darkness over the course of about four hours late Friday in the first rolling outages to hit the state since the 2001 energy crisis.The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state grid, declared a Stage 3 emergency late Friday, initiating the outages that impacted about 750,000 homes with demand soaring from people blasting fans and air conditioners to keep cool. Record high temperatures were seen around the Bay Area, according to the National Weather Service, with San Francisco reaching 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) and San Jose at 103.The intense heat is hitting at an especially vulnerable time for the region with the pandemic forcing people to remain at home. It’s the first time the state has declared a Stage 3 emergency since electricity shortages pushed hundreds of thousands in the region into darkness, forced California’s largest electric utility into bankruptcy and sent power prices surging to record levels in 2000 and 2001.About half of the customers were affected as of 8:15 p.m. local time, according to PowerOutage.us, which tracks power shutdowns.California grid operators decided to call for the rotating outages around 6:30 p.m. local time when they determined through a complex calculation that the state’s power reserves had fallen below a critical threshold, said Anne Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the California ISO.“We had an energy shortfall,” Gonzales said in a phone interview. The state needed to reduce demand by about 1,000 megawatts, she said. That’s equivalent to the amount of power supply for about 750,000 homes, according to the California ISO.The bulk of the outages came from PG&E Corp. The state’s biggest utility said it expected as many as 250,000 customers to be shut off in rolling outages, with power to be fully restored by 11 p.m. Customers in El Dorado and San Mateo counties were the first to be impacted, said Jeff Smith, a company spokesman.“Unfortunately, because of the emergency nature of this, we weren’t able to notify customers in advance,” Smith said in a telephone interview. The outages occurred for 60 to 90 minutes on a rotating basis through the utility’s Northern and Central California service territory, he said.Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility began shutting off customers shortly before 7 p.m., with about 132,000 of them without power as of 7:45 p.m., said spokesman David Song. The company planned to rotate the blackouts through blocks of customers, trying to ensure no one stayed without electricity for more than an hour in the outages through 10 p.m. “It’s happening pretty fast,” he said.Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric utility said shutoffs were “widespread” across its territory in San Diego and southern Orange counties, affecting about 58,700 customers whose power were restored as of 8:03 p.m., an hour and 20 minutes after the outages started.“The California ISO is working closely with California utilities and neighboring power systems to manage strain on the grid and to restore the power grid to full capacity,” the agency said in a statement late Friday.California is joining regions around the world that have been grappling with extreme weather brought on by climate change in recent months. What was forecast as one of the worst heat waves in more than a century gripped parts of Europe in August. The eastern U.S. is just emerging from July temperatures that were expected to topple daily records in Manhattan and Boston dating to the 19th century.Fire CutoffsThe rolling outages in California also come less than a year after utilities in the region deliberately cut off power to millions of customers in an effort to prevent their power lines from igniting wildfires amid unusually strong winds -- another consequence of increasingly extreme weather that has led to fires across the state in the past week.California won’t see a respite from the high temperatures until later next week as the National Weather Service forecast a long-duration heat wave starting this weekend. The weather agency posted excessive heat warnings for much of California for Friday through Wednesday.Electricity prices have already hit two-year highs as weather forecasters called for extreme temperatures. Spot power prices surged past $1,000 a megawatt-hour across California on Friday evening. Natural gas prices in Southern California more than doubled on the increased need for the fuel for power production, according to report from BloombergNEF.Grid operators will continue to monitor the situation throughout the weekend and into next week, Gonzales said. Asked whether the California ISO will need to call for additional power shutoffs, she said: “We don’t expect one, but we are prepared for one.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
- U.S.The Week
Postal workers are sounding the alarm as mail sorting machines are removed from processing facilities
It's not just business as usual at the United States Postal Service.While President Trump is publicly saying he plans to block funding for the USPS so that Democrats can't achieve their goal of expanding mail-in voting across all states ahead of the November election, the Postal Service is also facing some internal changes.Vice News' Motherboard reported Thursday that USPS is quietly removing mail sorting machines — the very machines that are responsible for sorting ballots. There's no official explanation for the changes, and it's unclear why the machines would be removed rather than simply not used when not needed. The removals and planned removals are reportedly affecting several processing facilities across the U.S."It'll force the mail to be worked by human hands in sorting. Guarantees to STOP productivity," a Post Office source told The Washington Post's Jacqueline Alemany. "On top of cutting the overtime needed to run the machines, can you imagine the [overtime] needed to do this [the] old hard way?"Postal workers say equipment is often moved around or replaced, but not usually at such a rate, and not in such a way that would affect workers' ability to quickly process large quantities of mail. Local union officials have no idea what's going on. "I'm not sure you're going to find an answer for why," one union president told Vice, "because we haven't figured that out either."A USPS spokesperson said the move is routine. "Package volume is up, but mail volume continues to decline," said the spokesperson. "Adapting our processing infrastructure to the current volumes will ensure more efficient, cost effective operations." Since there is an expected influx of mail as Americans begin sending in ballots, postal workers urged voters not to wait until the last moment to avoid overwhelming the dwindling number of sorting machines. Read more at Vice News.More stories from theweek.com Are bread riots coming to America? The Trump administration wants to crack down even further on asylum protections USPS warns delays could prevent mail-in votes from being counted in nearly every state
- SportsYahoo Sports
After speculation that he wouldn't play, DeMarcus Lawrence said that his wife made the call to not opt out.
Queen Elizabeth Reportedly Has Reason to Believe Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Would Not Be Fit to Rule
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are not ever going to become King and Queen of England, and according to sources, Queen Elizabeth is pleased Kate Middleton and Prince William are the ones to succeed her. And while there still could be a chance for Harry as "The Duke of Sussex remains sixth in line to […]
- HealthEat This, Not That!
Fever or chills, dry cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, loss of sense of smell and taste. These are just a few of the scary symptoms that people infected with COVID-19 are reporting. Usually it takes a few weeks—or even more than a month—for these manifestations of the highly infectious virus to subside. Most people do get better. However, there are some people who are battling symptoms of the virus log after the infection subsides, a phenomenon that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, deems "very disturbing." He's Concerned for 'Long-Haulers'During an Instagram interview with actor and UT Austin Professor Matthew McConaughe on Thursday, the NIH Director expressed his concern about what the group of people the medical world has come to describe as "long haulers." "We're starting to see more and more people who apparently recover from the actual viral part of it, and then weeks later, they feel weak, they feel tired, they feel sluggish, they feel short of breath," Fauci, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, explained. Read all 98 Symptoms Coronavirus Patients Say They've Had right here."It's a chronic projection forward of symptoms, even though the virus is gone, and we think that's probably an immunological effect."RELATED: The CDC Just Announced You Shouldn't Wear These MasksHe admitted that although health experts are researching the phenomenon and learning more about it every week, they are still puzzled why some people are left with these puzzling symptoms, while others make a complete recovery. "It's very disturbing, because if this is true for a lot of people, then just recovering from this may not be OK." The CDC Confirms His WorriesIn late July, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report confirming that thirty-five percent of coronavirus sufferers surveyed by the agency were still experiencing its wrath two to three weeks after testing positive for the virus. An interesting aspect of their study is that they only surveyed individuals with the virus who hadn't been admitted into a hospital, signifying a seemingly milder infection. Additionally, those who reported lingering symptoms weren't just older people. 26% of those between the ages of 18 to 34 and 32% of those 35 to 49 reported longer term symptoms. "COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness even among persons with milder outpatient illness, including young adults," the report's authors wrote. Until a vaccine is widely available, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.
- LifestyleIn The Know
Former McDonald's employee reveals alleged 'secrets' she learned at work: 'Will never eat there again'
If you’ve had a tough job before, you know how relieving it can be when you can finally walk away and talk about it.
- CelebrityInside Edition CBS
A new documentary tells the story of renowned comedian Robin Williams' final months as he struggled with undiagnosed Lewy Body Dementia before taking his own life. "Robin's Wish," directed by Tyler Norwood, features commentary from his widow, Susan, and others who worked with him. Susan said her husband knew something was terribly wrong and battled to get answers right up until his death, even while he kept making movies. She said Robin was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s before his suicide.