The California Independent System Operator has declared a Stage 2 Electrical Emergency, effective between 1 PM and 9 PM today. In a Stage 2 emergency, certain customers who have agreed to have their electrical service interrupted during high-load conditions in exchange for lower rates could lose power intermittently. This article on SFGate cites an ISO spokesman as saying that a Stage 3 emergency–rolling blackouts for all customers–is possible this afternoon.
The ISO’s current status and alerts are available online. As of this post, California is using 48,795 megawatts, and usage is forecast to peak at 51,164 megawatts. There’s a Wikipedia article that can put this in perspective if you’re interested. California’s generating capacity varies depending on how much auxilary, or “peaking, “capacity is online, but is less than 56,000 megawatts.
Conservation ideas are appreciated!