Well before the California Independent System Operator declared that the Bay Area would be in a Stage Two Power Emergency at 1:10 p.m. today (Monday, July 24), BART began doing its part to help prevent the possibility of rolling blackouts by volunteering to reduce the tremendous demand on the state's power grid.
This morning at 10 a.m., BART began reducing train speeds and turning down the lighting at all 43 stations. This power reduction will last through at least eight o'clock tonight. BART volunteered to reduce its electricity consumption after PG&E asked BART to do so this morning. That's despite the fact BART is on the list of essential services, which means rolling blackouts do not cut power to BART trains, stations and essential communications.
POWER REDUCTION'S EFFECT ON CUSTOMERS
As a result of the power reduction, customers should expect that some trains might run five to 10 minutes behind schedule. That's because the maximum speed trains will now go today is 60 mph instead of 80 mph.
BART doesn't typically run trains at their maximum speed of 80 mph except to help a train make up time. With the maximum speed now set at 60 miles per hour today, it will be more difficult for trains to make up time if they fall behind schedule.
Additionally, BART will reduce lighting by 20 to 30 percent in all of its 43 stations. However, BART will make sure the reduced lighting does not compromise the safety and security of BART passengers.
By reducing power consumption, BART will save approximately five to seven megawatts of electricity. BART typically uses 80 megawatts per day. PG&E says each megawatt of electricity is enough to power approximately 1,000 homes.