The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power restored powers to tens of thousands of residents overnight, but 32,000 customers still remained without power Monday afternoon amid what the utility called “one of the worst heat storms ever to hit our City.”
DWP estimated that power would be restored to affected residents about 48 hours from the time an outage started, but the utility warned that time frame could be extended.
Many “small neighborhood outages” were triggered by widespread, record-breaking heat that prompted a surge in the use of electricity, which caused distribution equipment to overheat, overload and fail, the DWP said Sunday night. By midday Monday, more than 300 such “neighborhood-level” outages occurred, affecting some 8,000 customers, the department said.
Meanwhile, larger outages in multiple areas were caused by overheating at local distribution stations that caused circuit outages.
The high number of smaller outages — which take longer to fix — prompted DWP to ask for help from other utilities.
“Restoring neighborhood outages affecting groups of 5-20 homes takes our crews much longer than larger circuit level or partial circuit outages where a single crew may be able to restore power to 500 – 1000+ customers in the same amount of time,” DWP said. “In contrast, neighborhood outages typically take a single crew 4-6 hours to restore power to a much smaller group of customers.”
An estimated 147,000 were without power at some point since Saturday, with outages still impacting 70,000 residents by Sunday night. However, crews “made a lot of progress overnight on heat storm restoration work,” and as of 6 a.m. Monday, service to 25,000 more customers had been restored, according to LADWP.
Residents in Koreatown, Highland Park, Mid-Wilshire, Reseda, Studio City, Sylmar, Pacoima, Leimert Park and West Adams were among those who lost service, LADWP said on its website.
Crews have been working “around the clock on 16-hour shifts since Saturday and will continue until every last customer is restored,” DWP said.
A Flex Alert was issued for afternoon and evening hours Saturday through Monday in anticipation of record-breaking heat across the state. The California Independent System Operator, which manages most of the state’s electrical grid, warned of potential rolling blackouts if residents didn’t conserve power over the three-day holiday weekend.
The state has largely avoided rolling blackouts thus far during the latest round of hot weather, but the Flex Alert will be in effect from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday.
Forecasters had anticipated another day of high heat, though temperatures were expected to cool down slightly from Sunday, when L.A. County saw its highest temperature ever officially recorded: 121 degrees in Woodland Hills.