SCE Crews Brace for Winter Storm’s Second Wave

Teams are pre-deployed and patrolling in key areas to keep power flowing.
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Stories : Safety

SCE Crews Brace for Winter Storm’s Second Wave

Teams are pre-deployed and patrolling in key areas to keep power flowing.
Photo Credit: Ernesto Sanchez
Video Credit: Ernesto Sanchez

Southern California Edison crews are battling another major storm that for the second time in less than a week has brought the threat of power outages from flooding, wind, downed trees, debris flows and lightning throughout the company’s service area. While Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency and has requested federal disaster relief, the National Weather Service predicts rainfall of up to one inch per hour Monday night into Tuesday morning, which could saturate areas impacted by recent wildfires.

“As of right now, our preparations look pretty good. Our biggest concern is the high precipitation rates in the burn scar areas. There is a high possibility of debris flow, and general access issues are a concern, particularly up in the Santa Barbara area,” said Andrew Peterson, SCE’s storm chief. “We have prestaged some personnel in the area because we are worried that if Highway 101 floods, we may not be able to get in and out of there for some time.”

SCE has also deployed a transmission line patrol crew in Santa Barbara, where the National Weather Service issued a flood advisory through 8 p.m. Monday evening to enable crews to respond quickly to any power outages.

An SCE truck working on a pole replacement project in El Monte on Monday, a second wave of storms arrived in Southern California.
An SCE truck working on a pole replacement project in El Monte on Monday as a second wave of storms arrived in Southern California.

As the storm moved into Southern California, an increased threat of lightning, which can lead to transformer failures, emerged. SCE is checking equipment inventory to make sure the company is prepared to replace transformers that could be damaged.

“We could see some pretty widespread thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow,” said Nicholas Sette, an SCE meteorologist. “It’s going to be a multiphased storm system. We’re already seeing a ton of rainfall today, even more so than we were expecting in our north coast and southern Sierra areas. Lots of road closures, debris and landslides already.”

In the Sierras, avalanche watches are in effect through Wednesday morning while rain totals could reach 15 inches in the Santa Ynez Mountains. On Thursday and Friday, Southern California is expected to receive a break from the dangerous storm before another series of storms arrive this weekend.

SCE crews work to keep power flowing to 15 million customers as another winter storm approaches.
SCE crews work to keep power flowing for 5 million customer accounts as another winter storm approaches.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, about 1,500 of SCE’s 5 million business and residential customers were impacted by power outages throughout its service area.

Customers can report or inquire about outages at 800-611-1911 and get the latest outage information at Updates are also available at and

As the storm threat continues, SCE offers these important safety tips:

Watch for Downed Wires:
Severe weather can cause power lines to fall. They can electrify puddles, wet grass and the surrounding area. Never approach a downed wire or anyone or anything in contact with it. Never try to remove a broken tree limb or branch that has come in contact with a power line. Stay away and call 911 immediately. A downed wire doesn’t always spark or hum. Always assume a downed wire is energized. Coming into contact with electrical wires can cause serious injury or even death.

Beware During Flooding: Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and 2 feet can sweep your vehicle away.

Use Battery-Operated Radios and Flashlights: Check the batteries to make sure they are fresh. Use flashlights for lighting during a power outage. Do not use candles because they pose a fire hazard.

Generator Safety: If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it using heavy-duty extension cords. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.

Space Heaters: Do not leave your space heater unattended and unplug it when not in use. Consider getting a space heater that has an automatic shut-off.

Driving Hazards: When power is out, traffic signals may be out, so approach those intersections as four-way stops.

For more electrical safety tips, visit