Thanksgiving by candlelight? 85,000 SoCal homes could lose power on holiday

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With Santa Ana winds causing increased fire danger, Southern California Edison is considering shutting off power to more than 85,000 customers in five counties on Thanksgiving.

The utility says notices of a Public Safety Power Shutoff are generally sent out 48 hours in advance - so if you haven't gotten one already you're probably in the clear for the holiday.

If you have gotten one, be sure to get ready.

"If you know your house is under consideration for PSPS, perhaps prepare the food earlier," said David Song with SoCal Edison. "A lot of people have gas-powered stoves, or other things to maybe cook."

SoCal Edison is hoping to reduce the need for such outages in the future by spending some $3.8 billion on improvements to the system. For example, some neighborhoods that were subject to shutoffs last year are no longer on the list.

The utility's Public Safety Power Shutoff program is designed to lower the risk of fires caused by damage to electrical equipment when strong winds are expected. Some of the largest, most devastating wildfires in California history have been linked to electrical equipment.
Edison said it is monitoring conditions for a possible shutdown starting around 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

The shutdowns could last for hours, until weather conditions subside - unlike rolling blackouts that typically only last an hour or two when caused by power demand on hot days.

A map of communities from Oxnard to Banning that could be affected is available here.

The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for many communities throughout Southern California that are expected to last through Friday night. Strong Santa Ana winds are expected, with possible gusts of 35 mph to 45 mph, although temperatures will remain in the 60s.

SCE has 5 million customers in the region. Here's how many could be affected by county if the power is shut off:

  • Los Angeles County: 21,059 customers.

  • Orange County: 2,679 customers

  • Riverside County: 4,422 customers.

  • San Bernardino County: 39,127 customers.

  • Ventura County: 16,676 customers.

  • Kern County: 1,481 customers.

  • "Turning off our customers' power is not something we take lightly, but PSPS events are one of the ways we can better ensure the safety of the public, our customers, and our employees," SCE says on its website.

    SCE customers can sign up for alerts to let them know if the power will be shut off.


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