With near record heat expected to hit Los Angeles this weekend and early next week, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is urging customers to be especially vigilant about reducing energy use where possible, while not putting their health or the health of their pets at risk.
“During times of extreme heat, we strongly encourage customers to conserve electricity as long as it does not jeopardize their health,” General Manager Marcie Edwards said. “Doing simple things such as turning up your thermostat to 78 degrees and turning off your lights will save electricity use and reduce the risk of outages.”
The likelihood of a power outage during a heat wave this summer is heightened because of the gas leak that occurred at the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, which resulted in a moratorium on new gas injections at Aliso Canyon. LADWP and other utilities serving the greater Los Angeles area depend on this facility to maintain power reliability when energy use spikes during hot weather. Gas is used not only in homes and businesses, but is also primary fuel for gas-fired electric power plants. Aliso Canyon is the only gas storage facility that can immediately respond to rapid changes in gas supply for 17 gas-fired generating plants, including four generating stations operated by LADWP in the Los Angeles basin.
Extreme heat can also affect power reliability as more residents and businesses crank up their air conditioners all at once, causing other appliances to work harder in order to perform and increasing the strain on neighborhood power distribution equipment.
The most effective time to save energy is between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. when energy use is typically the highest.
To help reduce energy use, LADWP recommends the following as highly effective conservation measures:
- Adjust your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher.
- Be smart about lighting. Turn off unnecessary lights.
- Adjust your water heater down to 120 degrees.
- Use your major appliances late in the evening or early in the morning.
- Turn off your pool pumps.
LADWP also offers a number of rebates and programs that can help residential and commercial customers reduce their energy use this summer. For example, LADWP offers rebates of up to $1,000 for a variable speed pool pump, up to $120 per ton for an efficient heating or air conditioning system, and $50 per unit for an efficient room air conditioner. For more energy-saving tips, visit www.ladwp.com/EEtips. For more information on energy efficiency programs please visit www.ladwp.com/rebatesandprograms.
How to Prepare for a Power Outage
Here are some ways to prepare for possible power outages:
- Store flashlights and batteries in easy-to-reach places around the home. Make a mental note to know where they all are.
- Keep a battery-operated radio nearby for updates on power outages.
- Ventilate your home in the evening by opening doors and windows to clear out heat and circulate air.
- Always have a phone charger in the car. Having a fully charged phone to speak with friends and family during an outage can be both comforting and informative.
- Keep non-perishable food handy. If food in the refrigerator does spoil, you want to be sure and have plenty of alternatives nearby.
- Keep a cooler nearby to transfer food, using whatever ice you have before the outage.
- If you are medically dependent on critical equipment, consider purchasing a gasoline-powered backup generator.
LADWP urges customers to pay attention to and follow instructions when Flex Alerts are issued during peak energy use periods. For the latest information regarding power outages in Los Angeles, follow LADWP on Twitter @LADWP. Customers may also sign up for LADWP email notifications on www.ladwp.com and www.ladwpnews.com.
For more information contact:
Communications Director, LADWP
Hot Weather Pet Safety
In addition to preparing for hot-weather human comfort, it’s also important to remember that when it’s hot for you, it’s even hotter for your pet. Dogs and cats do not sweat through their skin. They cool themselves by panting or rapid breathing, which means animals must work extra hard to stay cool.
Too much heat can be extremely dangerous or even fatal for them. If your best friend has a shorter nose, like Persian cats and bulldogs, he is more susceptible to heatstroke than breeds with longer noses.
If your dog or cat begins very rapid, noisy breathing, has trouble swallowing, and looks very distressed, she could be having a heatstroke. Heatstroke is an emergency. Get the animal out of the heat. Apply cold, wet towels to the back of the head. Place cold packs wrapped in towels or plain wet towels between the back legs and on the belly. Cool off your furry friend and then take her to the vet immediately.
The best plan is to keep your dog and cat protected from the hot weather.
Always make sure that your dog or cat has plenty of fresh water to drink. A bucket that holds a gallon or more of water will stay cool longer than water in a shallow pan. Some dogs consider ice cubes a treat, and you can add a few to the water bowl.
Dogs and cats do sweat a little through the pads of their feet. Most cats do not appreciate water added to any part of their body, but dogs often enjoy having cool water on their feet. Some dogs enjoy walking through or even lying in a child’s wading pool.
Never leave your pet alone in the car. If he cannot go inside at every stop with you, he is safer at home on hot days. Car interiors heat very quickly in the hot sun, even with the windows open. If it is 85 degrees outside, it will climb to 102 degrees inside your carwithin ten minutes. If it is 90 degrees out, temperatures can top 160 degrees faster than you can walk around the block. In fact, it’s against the law (California Penal Code Section 597.7 PC) to leave an animal in a vehicle if doing so endangers the health or well-being of the animal.
While walking your dog outdoors, play particular attention to the hot pavement or sidewalks that make your dogs walking area hotter and can even burn their feet. Early morning and later evening walks will be more comfortable for you both.
Animals who go outside need access to shade. Dark coats absorb heat. Lighter coated animals, especially white ones, are at higher risk for skin cancer from exposure to the sun and they are more susceptible to sunburn. If your dog spends time in the yard, make sure she has access to shade trees, a covered patio, or a cool spot under the porch.
Longer coated dogs and cats who are brushed regularly have natural insulation from the heat. However, if the coat has gotten matted, a summer clip will make your buddy much more comfortable and allow you a new start at keeping him brushed. Remember, newly clipped animals can be sunburned.
Companion animals want to be with you. They will be safer and cooler inside with you, where they can spend their time doing what they do best: being your best friend.