With the anticipated arrival of Santa Ana winds on Thanksgiving Day, Southern California Edison is considering cutting power for tens of thousands of its customers to prevent its electrical system from sparking wildfires.
SCE said Wednesday that it has already notified households that should expect possible service cuts, which could affect about 15,900 customers in Los Angeles County; 42,000 customers in San Bernardino County; 12,300 customers in Ventura County; and 4,400 customers in Riverside County.
That’s about 1.5% of the utility’s 5 million customers, according to SCE.
Residents can also enter their address on sce.com/wildfire/psps to check if their area is being considered for a “public safety power shutoff,” or they can sign up for text, voice or email alerts from the utility.
Forecasters predict strong winds to blow through much of Southern California as humidities drop to 10 to 25%.
Mountain areas can expect 50 to 60 mph winds Thursday night through Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Meanwhile, 40 to 50 mph winds can hit valley communities. Those on the coast may see 30 to 45 mph winds.
On Friday, humidities could further drop to the single digits, NWS said. Temperatures will stay on the cooler side, with highs predicted to be in the 60s to low 70s.
Last month, SCE faced criticism for not immediately enforcing preemptive shutoffs that could have prevented a wildfire that threatened residents as Santa Anas pummeled the Irvine area. Utility officials defended the decision, saying wind speeds in the region did not initially reach the threshold to cut electricity.
Edison later shut off power for about 1,900 customers.
SCE’s website has tips on preparing for an electric outage.