Why Flex Alerts Deserve Your Undivided Attention

Why Flex Alerts Deserve Your Undivided Attention

Learn what Flex Alerts mean for you and your community:
● Flex Alerts are calls to voluntarily reduce energy consumption during peak periods of energy use
● Reducing energy use during Flex Alerts helps reduce the risk of power outages, supporting your neighbors and the broader community.
● MCE is taking steps to advance grid reliability and energy resiliency with demand response programs and clean backup power.

Flex Alerts are a voluntary call to reduce energy consumption issued by utility companies or government agencies during peak periods of usage (usually 4 p.m.− 9 p.m.). Typically triggered by extreme weather conditions, increased air-conditioning demand, or unforeseen power supply issues, these alerts attempt to ease pressure on the grid and reduce the risk of potential power outages.

What do Flex Alerts mean for you?

By reducing energy consumption during peak demand periods, you alleviate stress on the power grid, helping to prevent potential power outages and ensuring the continuous availability of electricity. Your efforts to conserve energy during a Flex Alert positively impact your neighbors too, ensuring that vital services remain accessible and others in our communities receive the essential power they depend on for their health and safety.

How can you help?

Active participation in a Flex Alert involves adopting practical measures to reduce energy consumption during the designated hours. Here are some steps that you can take:

  1. Raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees during hot periods and use fans to maintain the same level of comfort with less energy.
  2. Unplug nonessential electronics and chargers to prevent unnecessary power consumption while idle.
  3. Utilize natural light instead of artificial lighting.
  4. Don’t run your laundry and dishwasher until the end of the Flex Alert.
  5. Postpone nonessential tasks that require electricity, such as using power tools or lawn mowing.

What is MCE doing?

MCE is identifying ways to increase energy supply and decrease demand during the peak demand hours. These solutions include MCE’s suite of Marketplace programs that utilize smart meter data and offer compensation for reducing energy consumption during peak demand hours. MCE’s Marketplace programs are split into two major categories:

  • Residential and Commercial Efficiency Market programs support the implementation of long-term energy efficiency measures.
  • The Peak FLEXmarket Program focuses on shifting usage away from peak hours in the summer and provides a premium incentive for reducing energy use during Flex Alerts when the grid is most constrained.

MCE has provided rebates and technical assistance to 68 homes and more than 20 critical facilities to install energy storage systems for clean backup power. These efforts will fund resilience solutions at West Marin Medical Center, Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, Lagunitas School District, and San Geronimo Valley Community Center.

In partnership with the Marin Center for Independent Living, MCE has provided portable batteries to 200 residents with medical challenges. The batteries, manufactured by Goal Zero, hold 3 kilowatt-hours of reserve power and allow customers to power life-supporting medical equipment and remain at home during shorter outages.

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