First published in the Nov. 25 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
With strong and gusty winds expected Thursday through midday Friday, Southern California Edison is advising its La Cañada Flintridge customers to have a power outage plan in place should their electricity shut off.
Edison has activated its incident management team to monitor weather and ground conditions and because La Cañada Flintridge is a high-fire-risk area, the team may consider a public safety power shutoff if the conditions warrant it.
“We understand that public safety power shutoff events significantly impact our customer’s daily lives and create hardships for them and our communities, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Reggie Kumar, a spokesman for Edison. “We may have to do this to keep communities safe from potential wildfires.
“Given the expected duration of this wind event, SCE will attempt to temporarily restore power to customers if winds subside and allow for safe inspections and power restoration. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.”
Edison modified its wildfire mitigation plan after record-breaking fires last year, and 2021 is already outpacing 2020, according to Terry Ohanian, Edison’s director of field and planning resources and director of expedited grid hardening. Edison’s updated policy requires its employees to conduct a thorough inspection of an entire line before reenergizing after an outage, a process that can take time.
Kumar said the company has been hard at work to minimize the impacts of shutoffs, especially in LCF where more than 1,500 customers were affected by a series of unplanned power outages during the summer.
“There is expedited grid hardening work taking place on 72 frequently impacted circuits that will result in an estimated reduction of PSPS outage time of at least 70%, assuming the same weather and fuel conditions as last year,” Kumar added. “In fact, for this 2021 fire season, 81,000 customers have already been removed from PSPS consideration, but this can change year-to-year.”
In preparation of an unplanned power outage, Edison suggests its customers to have essential supplies such as a first-aid kit, bottled water, flashlights and batteries, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, coolers or ice chests to store ice, special-needs items for elderly or disabled individuals and infants, battery-operated radio and external rechargeable battery pack for cellphones and other devices.
For more tips and information about power outages, visit sce.com/outage-center. Customers can also visit sce.com/psps to see if their community is being monitored for a potential shutoff.