PALMDALE (CBSLA) — Thousands of people are being put on notice Friday that their power could be shut off during periods of elevated fire danger.
This weekend, as many as 6,550 Southern California Edison customers could be plunged into the dark because of gusty winds forecast in the Antelope Valley. Thursday was the first time SoCal Edison used its public safety power shut off plan to reduce the risk of wildfires caused by downed power lines.
The utility’s Public Safety Power Shut Off Plan was developed in the wake of devastating wildfires across the state that have been blamed on sparking power company equipment in high fire danger areas.
In Southern California, a downed power line owned by SoCal Edison was blamed for causing the 2017 Thomas Fire that roared through Ventura County, into Santa Barbara County and to the Pacific Ocean. In April, the utility admitted in an investor filing that a pole support wire was found near an energized electrical wire near the origin of the Woolsey Fire that devastated Malibu last November.
SoCal Edison is urging its customers to be ready for sudden power outages by planning for medical needs, building or restocking emergency supplies, having backup charging ready for phones and other mobile devices, and learning how to manually open garage doors.
Drivers will also have to be on alert for outages because stop lights could go black if the power is out for more than four hours.
Customers who want to get alerts about possible power outages can go to prepareforpowerdown.com to sign up.