SoCal Utility Officials Staff Extra Workers Amid Record-Breaking Heat Wave

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When a blistering heat wave struck the Southland earlier this month, the region’s electric grid was so overwhelmed that more than 100,000 customers in Los Angeles had at some point lost power. Some went days without electricity.

Now, as Southern California endures another round of scorching heat that forecasters expect will shatter daily records in some areas on Wednesday, utility officials are hoping to avoid similar chaos by staffing extra workers and imploring residents to ease up on their thermostats to give the aging power system a chance to cool down.

“It’s similar to running your car at 100 mph, nonstop,” said Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokesman Joe Ramallo, referring to those who blast their air conditioning day and night. “Eventually, you’re going to have some problems. Distribution equipment is like that — it needs a break.”

Southern California Edison, which brings power to much of the region, is also urging people to reduce their electricity use during peak hours. State officials have issued a Flex Alert, calling on the public to turn off unnecessary lights and hold off on running major appliances until late in the evening Wednesday.

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