As officials warn of Santa Ana winds, scorching temperatures and a heightened risk of wildfires in the region, Southern California Edison is warning that it could cut power to some 162,000 customers in six counties on Thursday and Friday.
Tens of thousands of people were notified Tuesday that they could lose power in a bid to prevent a destructive wildfire, SoCal Edison spokesman Paul Netter said Tuesday.
Some 18,000 customers in Los Angeles County could be affected, including in Azusa, Covina, Glendora, Lancaster, San Fernando and Santa Clarita, according to the utility.
Wildfire prevention shutoffs are also possible in Kern County, Orange County, Riverside County, Ventura County and San Bernardino County, which has the largest amount of customers that could be affected if the utility decides to switch off electricity in the area. Check Southern California Edison’s website for an updated list of communities that could be affected by the wildfire prevention measure.
The utility said the concern is that powerful gusts could knock down power lines or damage electrical equipment, which could potentially lead to wildfires as temperatures are expected to reach the 90s in parts of Southern California.
Edison has been facing scrutiny since LAFD investigators announced that the Saddleridge Fire, which charred 8,799 acres, or 13.7 square miles, of land and forced the evacuation of thousands, is believed to have started on Oct. 10, below a SoCal Edison transmission line in Sylmar amid high winds.
Eli Whitney lives in Canyon Country, a neighborhood now under warning after he says power was out for two days during Southern California’s last Santa Ana wind event. Whitney said he recently spent $12,000 on a generator to help cope.
“This is an older neighborhood — I’m close to 80, most of the neighbors are in my age group,” he told KTLA. “It makes it very difficult. These people can’t afford to have the food go bad.”
Whitney added that he feels Edison is “just worried about the lawsuits.”
Netter said the utility understands that power shutoffs are disruptive and said they don’t take the decision lightly. The measure is done out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of customers, he said.
Customers can call 800-655-4555 for more information on the possible shutoffs and were encouraged to sign up for power shutoff and outage alerts online.
Dangerous fire weather conditions for LA/VTA Mtns and valleys Thu-Fri as moderate-strong #SantaAna winds combine with hot temperatures, single digit humidities & very dry fuels. Rapid fire spread &extreme fire behavior could threaten life/property. #CAwx #SoCal pic.twitter.com/8wWr5X49hs
— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 23, 2019