LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Nearly 50,000 Southern California Edison customers could potentially experience power service disruption as an extreme wind event is headed for the Southland.
And it was all hands on deck overnight at the SCE Command Center in Irwindale as utility workers monitored the strength and location of the winds. Workers used high-definition cameras in high-risk fire areas to measure wind speed in proximity to circuits along with knowledge of the brush below to help decide whether or not to shut off power to more than 173,000 households across the region.
In Malibu, where the devastating Woolsey fire destroyed 1,500 homes and killed three people is still fresh on people’s minds, some said they were nervous about what’s to come.
“It’s traumatizing as the Woolsey fire has barely been a year ago,” Brianna Willis, a Pepperdine student, said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to everyone who’s not going to have power or how they’re going to contact people if the fire does come this way.”
SCE spokesperson Phil Herrington said deciding when and where it’s too dangerous to keep the power on during red flag conditions was a delicate balance.
“We understand this puts our customers into some inconvenience,” he said. “This is about keeping the public safe.”
As of Wednesday night, the utility company had deployed 500 weather stations to help them make those close calls while local fire crews were staffing up and sending out strike teams to fire prone areas like Malibu. The Los Angeles Police Department encouraged homeless people to leave hillside encampments and was enforcing red flag parking in the hills.
“The thing that we’re really concerned about with these conditions are objects blowing into our lines,” Herrington said.
Edison warned its 49,024 customers across Los Angeles County and another 120,000 across the region could face power outages similar to those affecting residents in Northern and Central California after PG&E shut off power to 500,000 customers in what’s being called the largest planned power shutoff ever in California.
As of 11 p.m. Wednesday, SCE had cut power to 65 customers in unincorporated Kern County.
A message posted Wednesday evening to the SoCal Edison website indicated some customer were experience what SCE called “intermittent issues preventing visitors from logging in, making payments, or completing requests.”
The following is a partial list of communities in Southern California that were under consideration for a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) by Edison (click here for full list):
Los Angeles County (approximately 49,024 customers):
La Canada Flintridge 1, La Canada Flintridge 2, La Canada Flintridge 3, La Canada Flintridge 4
Orange County ( approximately 7,250 customers):
Rancho Santa Margarita
Riverside County (approximately 22,325 customers):
San Bernardino County (approximately 41,280 customers):
Ventura County (approximately 20,449 customers):
Santa Rosa Valley
Click here for a full list of potential communities under consideration for PSPS.