The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) declared a grid alert at 3:30 p.m. to deal with ongoing extreme cold temperatures across Western Canada, restricted imports, and high demand. Albertans are asked to reduce their electricity use to essential needs only, according to a Saturday press release. AESO said reducing peak electricity demand through conservation will minimize the high potential for rotating outages this evening. It projected the Alberta electricity grid will face a 100 to 200 MW shortfall of electricity during peak evening hours. Immediate power conservation could make a significant difference in reducing overall system demand, sitting at 12,000 MW. To put these numbers into perspective, the City of Calgary will be drawing about 1,650 MW of electricity today. If rotating outages are implemented, the City of Calgary will need to reduce power by about 50 MW. AESO said rotating outages mean some power will be out in different parts of Alberta until sufficient generation returns to the grid or power declines enough it can rebalance supply and demand. If rotating outages happen, it acknowledged Distribution Facility Owners such as municipalities have been directed to reduce power on a proportionate basis. Outages will occur at the same time across Alberta. Critical facilities such as hospitals, fire, police, and first responders will be exempt from them. Each one is expected to last about 30 minutes at a time and could be implemented soon. Alberta’s electricity grid had a close call in August. READ MORE: INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Alberta power grid barely avoids crash, nat gas saves the dayThe warning lights were flashing after it almost crashed during a near perfect storm of high temperatures and low wind that forced AESO to issue a Level 3 power alert.Repairs to the connection with British Columbia made Albertans rely almost all on natural gas — supplemented with intermittent solar — to keep cool.