Utilities Restore Power to Some; Thousands Still Out

The DWP was requesting mutual aid from nearby utilities in order to help with the high number of small outages.

Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of Southern California Edison and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers remained without power Tuesday, and electricity for some was not expected to be restored until Wednesday.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, there were about 11,100 DWP customers without power, down from 23,000 customers at 9 p.m. Monday and more than 45,000 at 1 p.m. Monday.

The estimated time of total restoration of services is 48 hours from the time an outage began, DWP spokeswoman Dawn Cottrell said. Customers who have been without power the longest were receiving top priority.

The DWP was requesting mutual aid from nearby utilities in order to help with the high number of small outages.

"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 to 1000+ customers in the same amount of time,'' according to a statement from the utility. "In contrast, neighborhood outages typically take a single crew 4-6 hours to restore power to a much smaller group of customers.''

Multiple wildfires are burning across California after a weekend of record heat. Firefighters are preparing for conditions to worsen as dry winds are expected.

The statement added that DWP crews "have been working around the clock on 16-hour shifts since Saturday and will continue until every last customer is restored. We appreciate everyone's patience as we respond to one of the worst heat storms ever to hit our city.''

SCE, meanwhile, was making progress at restoring power to thousands of customers.

By about 8 a.m. Tuesday, SCE had reduced the number of customers affected in Los Angeles County to 9,800 and in Orange County to 2,500 customers. With red flag fire conditions in the area, however, SCE warned that more than 66,000 of its customers could be subjected to Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are implemented to help prevent wildfires from sparking.

Of those 66,000 customers, more than 8,500 are in Los Angeles County and nearly 6,500 are in Orange County.

The DWP urged people to set air conditioners to 78-82 degrees and "skip laundry and heavy appliance use."

Those experiencing a power outage were urged to report it at or by calling 1-800-DIAL-DWP (1-800-342-5397) using the automated system.

The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state's bulk electric power system, issued a Flex Alert from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday urging utility users to conserve but unlike the previous two days did not declare a Stage 2 Emergency.

A Stage 2 Emergency means "the CA ISO has taken all mitigating actions and is no longer able to provide its expected energy requirements. A Stage 2 warning requires ISO intervention in the market, such as ordering power plants online,'' according to the agency's website.

On Sunday, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette issued an emergency order to "preserve the reliability of the bulk electric power system during this period of heat and stress on the grid."

A statement from the Department of Energy added that "while the secretary has offered the emergency assistance to California in this time of crisis, he also encourages state policymakers to evaluate why the grid is not able to handle extreme stress, which could be alleviated with the support of greater baseload power generation and natural gas supply.''

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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