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How businesses and electrical car owners conserve energy

The California Independent System Operator has been issuing Flex Alerts whenever there's a need to conserve energy during critical times.

They provide several tips for people to conserve energy in their homes before and during the flex alert.

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But how can businesses conserve energy if they need to use major appliances or keep the temperature cooler inside for customers? Every business is different. A spokesperson from Riverside County, Shane Reichardt, said some businesses can conserve during peak hours while others can't do so as easily.

"For businesses, it's going to depend on what kind of business they're doing and if they can shuffle stuff to those non-peak hours," said Reichardt. "Some businesses may elect to close early and send their employees home."

Businesses like restaurants and movie theatres can't really afford to do that. They would risk losing customers. Reichardt said restaurants likely wouldn't be able to conserve energy in the same way a dry cleaners could.

"Most people that are conserving energy- homeowners come to restaurants and movie theaters during the day so they don't have to have their air conditioners on at the house," said The Slice restaurant owner, Jack Srebnick.

Srebnick said he needs to keep his customers comfortable and his workers safe. Without either of them, his business couldn't thrive.

"We have a pizza oven, that's 550 degrees, throws out a lot of heat. So it's keeping [the workers] safe and healthy," said Srebnick.

However, he does put in the effort to save energy any way he can.

"We don't have all the lights on during the day," said Srebnick. "We try to tell the staff everything they can do at home to try to save energy so that we can remain open."

He tries to turn off as many lights as he can during the day too and uses fans to help keep the building cool.

"After last year with a pandemic. We don't want to be closed for another cause that- that we can't handle," said Srebnick.

Reichardt adds that everyone, including businesses, can play a part in conserving energy in the best way they can.

In addition to businesses conserving energy, electrical vehicle owners need to be aware of their energy consumption too. Reichardt said electric vehicles present a challenge during Flex Alerts.

"If they interrupt the power between four and nine, that's a short amount of time, and a lot of people can weather that," said Reichardt. "But also think about it, if you've got an electric vehicle, what is your plan if power is interrupted for an extended period of time?"

Reichardt suggests charging before Flex Alerts are in effect and to try and find solar-powered vehicle chargers in case there's a blackout. He said as the state leans more towards electric cars, we'll need more innovative solutions as to how we can keep them powered during possible blackouts.

"You want to charge before those hours four to nine which is generally when those flex alerts are taking place," said Reichardt. "so that you're at least topped off or have enough energy in the car to be able to do whatever you need to do run errands, pick up the kids, those kinds of things. Make sure that that's all done before those peak hours."

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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