California on Friday ordered rolling power outages for the first time since 2011 as a statewide heat wave strained its electrical system.
The California Independent System Operator (California ISO), which manages the power grid, declared an emergency shortly after 6:30 p.m. and directed utilities around the state to shed their power loads.
Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest utility, tweeted that it would turn off power to about 200,000 to 250,000 customers in rotating outages for about an hour at a time. Other utilities were told to do the same.
The emergency declaration ended just before 10 p.m. and California ISO said power had been restored statewide.
“Extreme heat is really the driver behind this,” said Anne Gonzales, spokeswoman for the power grid operator.
The move came as temperatures around the state hit triple digits in many areas, and air conditioning use soared.
Temperatures were 10 to 20 degrees above normal in some areas, Gonzales said.
In addition, cloudy weather from the remnants of a tropical weather system reduced power generation from solar plants, she said.
The state tried to prepare for the expected rise in electricity use by urging conservation and trying to buy more power but a high-pressure system building over Western states meant there was less available.
Temperatures and energy use were expected to drop during the evening, and California ISO expected the outages to end at midnight.
The heat wave is expected to last through next week and the power grid operator will decide whether to continue the rolling outages on a day-to-day basis, Gonzales said.
“We’re dealing with weather, clouds, wildfires … these are quickly evolving situations, quickly changing,” Gonzales said.
The last time the state ordered rolling outages was during an energy crisis in 2011. Blackouts occurred several times from January to May, including one that affected more than 1.5 million customers in March. The cause was a combination of energy shortages and market manipulation by energy wholesalers, infamously including Enron Corp., that drove up prices by withholding supplies.
Counties up and down the state reported scattered outages, although the city of Los Angeles, which has its own power generating system, wasn’t affected.
Police departments warned people to watch out on roads where stoplights were out.
In Sonoma County in the wine country, the Santa Rosa Police Department received a flood of calls and pleaded with residents: “Please do not call 911 unless you have an emergency.”
The heat wave brought dangerously high temperatures, increased wildfire danger and fears of coronavirus spread as people flock to beaches and parks for relief.
Heat records fell in several cities. Downtown San Francisco hit 90 degrees, topping a high for the date of 86 that was set in 1995. Salinas hit 102, 18 degrees above the record set just last year. Palm Springs hit 120, breaking a 2015 record by several degrees.
Sweltering weather was expected to continue into Wednesday across greater Los Angeles, the Central Valley, Sierra Nevada foothills and parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties opened cooling centres that will welcome people this weekend from the afternoon to the early evening. San Francisco officials said the city is recommending people stay home and that if the heat indoors gets intolerable to go outside to a shady place where they can stay cool and distant from other people.
“Congregate indoor sites are not safe necessarily during COVID-19. It is better to follow other instructions during this heat wave,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, executive director of the Department of Emergency Management.
Carroll encouraged residents to check on family, friends and neighbours, especially older adults and those in frail health, and reminded people to always wear a face mask when in the vicinity of people who don’t share their household.
“We know it’s going to be beautiful out this weekend but we just want everyone to remember that we are in a very serious response to this COVID-19 virus,” Carroll said.
Ernesto Guerrero bought a small air conditioner this week for La Tapatia, his restaurant in Martinez, northeast of San Francisco, where triple-digit temperatures are predicted. But he said the unit doesn’t do much to cool the cooking areas because the stove runs all day.
At the open: TSX jumps on strong retail sales data – The Globe and Mail
Canada’s main stock index rose on Friday as data showing a rise in retail sales and an uptick in house prices helped offset fears of prolonged economic recovery as coronavirus cases rise globally.
At 9:33 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 51.34 points, or 0.32%, at 16,298.06.
Canadian retail sales in July rose by 0.6% and are now higher than they were before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Statistics Canada said on Friday, adding that August sales probably gained 1.1% on the month.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast retail sales would increase by 1.0% from June, when trade jumped by 22.7% as restrictions imposed to fight the outbreak were removed.
“The data continue to suggest that the pace of growth seen in June wasn’t sustained early in the third quarter,” said Royce Mendes of CIBC Economics.
Sales grew in six of the 11 subsectors, with motor vehicles and parts contributing the most. Gas sales also posted gains.
The Nasdaq rose at the open on Friday, shaking off a two-day decline in heavyweight technology stocks, while worries about rising coronavirus cases and a patchy economic recovery weighed on the S&P 500 and Dow.
The Nasdaq Composite gained 63.17 points, or 0.58%, to 10,973.45 at the opening bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 37.11 points, or 0.13%, at the open to 27,864.87, while the S&P 500 opened higher by just 0.37 points, or flat, at 3,357.38.
Wall Street’s three main indexes bounced earlier this week as investors bet on a loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, but gains petered out in the absence of firm details on the central bank’s stimulus plan.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have also come under pressure from investors rotating out of high-flying tech-related stocks and into industrial and transportation firms.
“The market’s in a vacuum right now,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.
“Anytime you have news or perception that things are going to be delayed or (you have a) slow growth economy, those (technology-related) stocks get bid. You’ll get these technical bounce days when coronavirus cases spike up and money will move back into tech.”
Oil prices were mixed on Friday after Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said a blockade on Libyan oil exports would be lifted for one month, countering more bullish signals from an OPEC meeting on Thursday.
Brent crude was down 17 cents at $43.13 a barrel by 1321 GMT while U.S. oil futures ticked up 6 cents to $41.03.
The benchmarks were still set for weekly gains after Hurricane Sally cut U.S. production, Saudi Arabia pressed allies to stick to production quotas and banks including Goldman Sachs predicted a supply deficit.
Pre-blockade Libya was producing around 1.2 million bpd, compared with just over 100,000 bpd now. It is unclear how quickly Libya could ramp up production.
Earlier, Goldman Sachs predicted a market deficit of 3 million barrels per day (bpd) by the fourth quarter and reiterated its target for Brent to reach $49 by the end of the year and $65 by the third quarter of 2021.
Swiss bank UBS also pointed to the possibility of undersupply, forecasting Brent would rise to $45 a barrel in the fourth quarter and to $55 by mid-2021.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, a group known as OPEC+, are cutting output by 7.7 million bpd and stressed at a meeting on Thursday that it would take action against members not complying with the deal.
“We think (OPEC+) will put on hold plans to taper the cut down to 5.8 million bpd … when the entire group convenes again in December,” RBC analysts said.
Saudi Arabia said an earlier meeting was possible if oil prices fell alongside demand because of a second wave of coronavirus cases.
“The market now feels the ground more stable to maintain $40+ price levels,” said Rystad’s Head of Oil Markets Bjornar Tonhaugen.
Suspicious activity found on 48,000 CRA accounts after cyberattacks: treasury board – CBC.ca
The Treasury Board of Canada says it has uncovered suspicious activities on more than 48,000 Canada Revenue Agency accounts following cyberattacks in July and August.
The treasury says the previously announced attacks targeted CRA accounts and GCKey, an online portal through which Canadians access employment insurance and immigration services.
Attackers used a method called credential stuffing, which takes advantage of people who reuse usernames and passwords across multiple platforms that may have been previously hacked.
The treasury says GCKey was not compromised, but it has revoked 9,300 credentials for its system and is contacting those users in hopes of blocking subsequent attacks.
Canadians who receive a revocation message can register for new credentials or make use of the SecureKey Concierge, which lets users sign in to 269 government services through partners, such as major banks.
The treasury says the RCMP’s investigation into the attacks is still ongoing and affected departments have been in contact with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to provide updates on what personal information has been compromised.
ByteDance plans TikTok IPO if U.S. clears deal: sources – Yahoo Canada Finance
NEW YORK (Reuters) – China’s ByteDance is planning a U.S. initial public offering of TikTok Global, the new company that will operate the popular short video app, should their proposed deal be cleared by the White House, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The filing of an IPO for TikTok Global, in which Oracle Corp <ORCL.N> would also own a stake, would be on a U.S. stock exchange and could come in about a year, the sources said, requesting anonymity because the matter is confidential.
ByteDance and Oracle did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Echo Wang in New York; Editing by Chris Reese)
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