California facing

California Facing Largest Power Outages In Its History This Week Amid Record Heatwave – Deadline

As California struggles to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic, wilting heat and wildfires, it’s facing another dangerous crisis: blackouts.

As temperatures broke records across the state, California energy officials announced the first rolling blackouts in the state since 2001 and warned that the state was bracing for what could be the largest power outage it has ever seen, likely on Monday.

When asked about the number of Californians who will be impacted and how it ranks historically, the President/CEO of the Independent Service Operator — the nonprofit that operates the state’s power grid — said he wasn’t entirely sure.

“I can’t speak to historical comparisons,” Steve Berberich said. “I wasn’t here during the energy crisis.”

When pressed by a reporter who had run the numbers and estimated that 3.3 million Californians will be impacted, Berberich assented that his calculations were “probably fairly accurate.”

The San Jose Mercury News estimates power outages impacted 1.5 million people in 2001. Given that number, 3.3 million people without power would be at least twice as large.

ISO officials said they were shutting down power to residents to prevent events of an even greater magnitude.

“We avoid demand exceeding supply to ensure there’s not a widespread system collapse,” said ISO Market Policy and Performance VP Mark Rothleder.

On Monday, officials said they expect blackouts to begin about 4 p.m. and extend through at least 10 p.m. in two-hour blocks for each affected area.

A big problem is a shortage of power that could be imported from utilities in neighboring states. California has been able to bridge the gaps in previous heatwaves because it could bring in power. This time, though, “we are facing diminished imports because the West is heating up,” said Berberich.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state was using “all the tools in the tool kit” to meet demand. “We are likely to fall short,” he said, as oppressive temperatures stress the state’s energy system that serves 5 million households and businesses.

The National Weather Service warned of potentially record-breaking heat in the L.A. area on Monday and Tuesday.

Newsom noted that temperatures in Death Valley reached 130 degrees Sunday, a peak not hit since at least a century-plus, according to the National Weather Service. As a point of reference, the hottest temperature ever officially recorded on Earth was 134 degrees, also in Death Valley, in 1913. And that mark has been disputed for decades.

Newsom added that “rather extraordinary weather conditions” also have put firefighters under enormous pressure as they battle wildfires across the state.

Newsom pointed to California’s shift to renewable resources as part of the reason for the supply shortage. Shutting down polluting gas power plants has created gaps in the state’s energy supply, he said.

While the state remains committed to a greener future, Newsom said, “We cannot sacrifice reliability” and promised that officials would be “much more aggressive … in making sure that is the case.”

Big power users are being allowed to shift to backup sources and stored energy that is typically restricted as state officials work to urgently deploy more resources systemwide, according to the governor.

A statewide Flex Alert calling for residents to voluntarily conserve electricity remains in effect through Wednesday. Officials also are urging businesses statewide to restrict their usage. In some cases, the state is asking business owners to support outreach to their customers about conserving energy. Newsom named Telsa, a major manufacturer of electric vehicles, as one of the businesses working closely with the state.

The California ISO issued the Flex Alert on Sunday, saying there is insufficient energy to meet high consumer demand during the record-breaking heatwave. To minimize the need for controlled outages, residents were asked to use air conditioning early in the day and set

thermostats at 78 in the afternoon and evening hours, while avoiding the use of major appliances between the hours of 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The alert followed blackouts Friday and Saturday that Newsom said came without warning.

The governor on Sunday convened an all-hands meeting with California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and senior administration officials and called the weekend service disruptions “unacceptable.”

Newsom announced Monday that he had signed an emergency proclamation to free up energy capacity.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Friday’s rolling blackouts did not affect residents of the city. “We own our own power plants and transmission lines and had enough supply to meet demand + req’d reserve,” the department tweeted. “We encourage our customers to conserve to help state grid and reduce strain on system.”

We can all do our part to conserve energy and help prevent service interruptions during California’s heatwave. ☀️

Between 3-10pm:

?️ Set your A/C at 78° or higher

? Avoid major appliance use

? Turn off unnecessary lights

Pre-cool your home at 72° overnight & in the morning.

— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) August 17, 2020

On Saturday, high temperatures increased electricity demand while one power plant was down and wind power fell short, prompting a Stage 3 Electrical Emergency that lasted 20 minutes. It was called at 6:28 p.m., making rolling outages imminent or in progress, according to the California ISO.

No major outages were reported Monday by Southern California Edison, but peak power demand likely would trigger outages later in the day.

In a letter, the governor said the blackouts were called Friday and Saturday without notice and demanded an investigation.

“Residents, communities and other governmental organizations did not receive sufficient warning that these de-energizations could occur. Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians,” Newsom wrote.

“This cannot stand,” said Newsom at his midday press conference. “California residents and businesses deserve better from their government.”

Berberich said the ISO did a poor job of warning residents, utilities “and particularly the governor’s office” last weekend that blackouts were imminent.

“We own that, and we’re sorry,” he said.

Power providers say a lack of supply from sources outside the state contributed to the shortage, as other Western states struggled to meet their own demand during the heatwave.

During his midday Monday news conference, the governor promised the investigation would be swift and comprehensive.

The stakes are high for Newsom, who two weeks ago faced a failure of the state’s coronavirus data system; the 2001 blackouts were widely seen to have contributed to then-governor Gray Davis’s political demise. He was recalled by voters in 2003.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Read More

facing Florida

Florida mom facing murder charge after autistic son, 9, found dead, police say – Fox News

A Florida woman who authorities say initially told them her 9-year-old son was kidnapped now faces a murder charge in connection with his death.

Patricia Ripley, 47, of West Kendall, was booked into the Miami-Dade County jail early Saturday following hours of questioning by police, the Miami Herald reported.

Her arrest came after her son, Alejandro, was found dead Friday in a pond at the Miccosukee Golf & Country Club, the report said.


An Amber Alert had been issued Thursday night regarding Alejandro, whom authorities were initially told was abducted from outside a Home Depot store

According to the Herald, the suspect told police a car had forced her vehicle off the road near the store, then two men jumped out of the vehicle and demanded drugs. She then said the men grabbed the boy and drove off when she couldn’t comply with their request.

But security footage from the Home Depot shows Ripley sitting alone in her car for 20 minutes before calling police at 8:47 p.m. Thursday, a source told the Herald. The woman eventually admitted being linked to the boy’s death, sources told the paper.

The body of Alejandro Ripley, 9, was found Friday. His mother, Patricia Ripley, 47, is being held in connection with the death. <br data-cke-eol=
(Miami-Dade Department of Corrections and Miami-Dade Police Department)” src=”″>

The body of Alejandro Ripley, 9, was found Friday. His mother, Patricia Ripley, 47, is being held in connection with the death. 

(Miami-Dade Department of Corrections and Miami-Dade Police Department)

No further details of the case were immediately available.


Ripley was being held without bond, Miami’s WPLG-TV reported.

About two dozen people gathered Friday for a memorial service for the boy outsid

Read More

Afghanistan facing

Afghanistan likely facing coronavirus ‘health disaster’: U.S. watchdog – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghanistan, beset by a poor healthcare system, malnutrition, war and other vulnerabilities, likely is facing a “health disaster” from the coronavirus, a watchdog report to the U.S. Congress warns.

FILE PHOTO: Men wait to receive free food donated by the Afghan government, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Jalalabad, Afghanistan April 28, 2020. REUTERS/Parwiz/File Photo

The report released late on Thursday by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko could heighten concerns among U.S. officials and lawmakers that the pandemic threatens to derail stalled U.S.-led peace efforts.

The spread of COVID-19 – the illness caused by the novel coronavirus – already has significantly impacted Afghanistan, the report said, from complicating the peace initiative to forcing border crossing closures that have disrupted commercial and humanitarian deliveries.

“Afghanistan’s numerous and, in some cases, unique vulnerabilities – a weak healthcare system, widespread malnutrition, porous borders, massive internal displacement, contiguity with Iran, and ongoing conflict – make it likely the country will confront a health disaster in the coming months,” the report said.

Rising food prices in the impoverished country is likely to worsen the crisis, Sopko said in a letter accompanying the report.

As the pandemic has spread, Washington has pressed the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to free thousands of at-risk militant and government prisoners as a precursor to peace talks originally set to begin on March 10.

Kabul, however, was not a party to a Feb. 29 U.S. troop withdrawal deal between the Taliban and Washington that called for the releases. Differences over the pace and numbers of prisoners to be freed have helped stall the peace effort, which could suffer a major blow if many prisoners were to die.

Afghanistan has confirmed nearly 2,200 coronavirus cases and 64 deaths, according to local news reports quoting the Health Ministry.

The report said the NATO-led international coalition declined to make available for public release data on the number of attacks launched by the Taliban in the first three months of 2020.

It was the first time that publication of the data has been denied since SIGAR began using them to track levels and locations of violence in 2018, the report said.

The coalition, it said, explained that the data are “now a critical part” of internal U.S. government deliberations on negotiations with the Taliban, who have escalated attacks on Afghan security forces since the Feb. 29 deal.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman on Friday said the data was withheld because they are “part of diplomatic discussions with the Taliban and with State Department and other parties in an effort to bring a diplomatic solution” and releasing them “would not move that ball forward.”

“It will be released in the future,” he added.

Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Additiona reporting by Idrees Ali, Editing by Mary Milliken, Dan Grebler and Bill Berkrot

Read More