East Bay diners ditch outdoor reservations amid triple-digit heat

A scorching heatwave across most of the Bay Area on Saturday nearly overwhelmed California's electric grid.

The California Independent System operator extended a FLEX alert on Saturday from 4pm to 9pm, pleading for people to reduce their energy usage during that window to avoid the need to temporarily cut power. 

In a media call Saturday afternoon, Cal ISO shared that California had lost 5,500 megawatts of power, as the fast-moving Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon threatened high voltage transmission lines at the Oregon California Intertie.

The fire tripped three lines and temporarily put them out of service, Elliot Mainzer, president and CEO of Cal ISO said.

"This is a very stressed grid condition this evening, and we really need folks to provide this conservation for the system," Mainzer said around the time the FLEX alert activated at 4pm.

Triple-digit heat in Walnut Creek lasted through dinnertime, triggering last-minute cancellations on outdoor reservations at Va de Vi Bistro & Wine Bar.

"We have been busy inside all day, outside we've had roughly as of this point right now about 70 cancellations between lunch and dinner tonight," Emily Mort, the restaurant's manager said, adding that people seated at 13 indoor tables enjoyed an air-conditioned atmosphere.

Revel Kitchen and bar in downtown Danville reached full indoor capacity at dinnertime, while their outdoor seated stayed empty due to the heat. 

Danville Chocolates enjoyed a busy day serving scoops of ice cream to customers looking to cool off from the heat.

"Definitely the ice cream has been really popular," Emily Von Zedtwitz, an employee, said.

Cal ISO asked both residents and businesses to do their part to reduce energy usage for most of the evening.

"We try to do as much as we can to save," Tais Loofbourrow, a Walnut Creek resident, said, noting that her family uses fans and keeps windows could during the day and "we unplug outlets that we're not using, computers and all of that."

"I like to minimize the use of lights a lot," Tami Tan, a San Francisco resident, said.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Saturday to free up more energy capacity, allowing emergency use of auxiliary ship engines to relieve pressure on the electric grid.