SCE Works with Fire Officials to Restore Power
UPDATED, Nov. 13, 6:30 a.m.
Southern California Edison continues to closely monitor the Woolsey and Hill fires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. SCE’s priority is working alongside first responders as they battle to contain these devastating fires affecting so many communities.
The Woolsey and Hill fires have damaged SCE infrastructure and caused outages in fire affected areas.
As of 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, approximately 9,100 customers were without power due to the Woolsey and Hill fires. Crews have been granted limited access in some areas and are working to assess damage and restore power as conditions safely allow.
Air restrictions were lifted in some areas and we began assessing damage using helicopters. Continuing assessments will be limited due to firefighting operations.
SCE anticipates having most customers impacted by the Hill Fire restored with power by mid-week pending access approvals. This subject to updates as we are able to improve our assessment. At this time, restoration times for customers in the Thousand Oaks area are not available.
“We are working closely with our first responder partners and are prepared to safely and quickly restore power as soon as we can,” said SCE incident commander Steve Powell. “We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we work to get their power back on.”
Crews have been working with local utilities and first responders to aid in clearing rights of way and brush, and approximately 500 field personnel have begun deploying to replace equipment and make repairs. Initial assessments indicate approximately 500 poles and 750,000 feet of wire have been damaged or destroyed. The numbers may rise as damage assessment teams continue to gain access to additional burn areas. So far, SCE crews have replaced 99 poles and transformers and strung 10,500 feet of wire.
There are some de-energized lines down in fire areas. We are coordinating with fire agencies to clear these locations when it’s safe for our crews to get in, which is a priority.
SCE is reminding customers that are being allowed re-entry to fire areas they may not have electric service, and restoration of service may not be known at this time. Customers should refer to sce.com “Outage Center” for updated electric restoration.
The utility and emergency responders are also reminding the public and customers that hazardous conditions do exist in fire areas, and they should stay away from all utility infrastructure (poles, wires, and ground level structures). SCE personnel have been granted access in some fire areas and will be clearing any electric infrastructure creating hazardous conditions. Due to these conditions and limited access, restoration work is expected to be slow.
SCE has been in communication with the California Public Utilities Commission with respect to these fires and has submitted an initial electric safety incident report on the Woolsey Fire reporting an outage in the vicinity. The information in the report is preliminary. There has been no determination of origin or cause of either wildfire. SCE will fully cooperate with any investigations.
There is no doubt these devastating wildfires are impacting all Californians. As a state, we need to focus on addressing climate change impacts including these severe weather-driven wildfires, prolonged drought conditions and the build-up of hazardous fuels. All of these issues impact communities and their critical infrastructure providers including utilities. The state legislature took an important initial step to mitigate wildfire risks through the passage of SB 901, but much work is still needed to address the critical issues of fire prevention, suppression efforts and liability allocation. SCE believes the state can do more, including enacting fire-smart building codes, particularly in high fire risk areas, and ensuring the proper allocation of risk for the often-tragic consequences of wildfires.
At the request of fire agencies, and to ensure first responder safety, SCE may turn off power in certain areas to assist with firefighting efforts.
Unrelated to the fires, some customers in areas affected by red flag conditions may have lost power. To mitigate wildfire risk SCE has disabled technology that normally would automatically re-energize a circuit. This is not the same as a Public Safety Power Shutoff. In these circumstances, power restoration will be delayed because the line must be visually inspected to ensure it is safe before it can be re-energized.
Customers can also report or inquire about outages at 800-611-1911.
Power Outage Safety Tips
- If you see a downed power line, do not touch it or anything in contact with it. Call 911 immediately.
- Power outages in the area may impact traffic signals so motorists should use extreme caution and treat all intersections as four-way-stops.
- Remember to check emergency supplies to be sure you have a battery-operated radio, a flashlight and fresh batteries.
- Use flashlights instead of candles to avoid fire hazards in your home or business.
- If you’re in a vehicle with a fallen power line on it, stay in the vehicle and remain calm until help arrives. It is OK to use your cellphone to call 911. If you must leave the vehicle, remember to exit away from downed power lines and exit by jumping from the vehicle and landing with both feet together. You must not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then proceed away from the vehicle by shuffling and not picking up your feet until you are several yards away.
- If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews. Please consult the manufacturer’s manual for operating the generator.