Thousands Without Power as Energy Demand Skyrockets

The outages come during a Southern California heat wave that has utilities asking customers to conserve power

Thousands of Southern Californians were without power Wednesday morning as a scorching heat wave fueled record-breaking energy demand, utility officials said.

As of 10:30 p.m., Southern California Edison crews were dealing with 84 power outages, which affected 7,426 customers, including 3,990 in San Marino, 1,400 in Los Angeles and 777 in Orange County. By Wednesday morning, SoCal Edison reported 1,800 customers without power.

Meanwhile, 3,000 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers were also without power Tuesday night, including 2,000 in the Encino area and 1,000 in the LA metro area, utility officials said. Crews were working around the clock to get the power back on. The utility reported about 630 customers without power Wednesday morning.

Updated Article: Outages Continue in Heat Wave

The DWP reported an all-time record energy demand of 6,396 megawatts Tuesday, a day after the record had been set at 6,196 megawatts. The usage taxed power lines and triggered transformer fires.

“This actually started Saturday, the heat, so we’ve been busy all the way through,” said Juan Esparza, LADWP district superintendent. “We have crews coming in working 16 hours and going home and coming back at midnight.”

At mid-day, about 4,000 LADWP customers were without power. That figure is down from 11 p.m. Monday, when about 6,000 customers were without power. Most of those outages were in the Valley Glen, North Hollywood and Sherman Oaks areas.

An LADWP spokesperson said the outages extend from valleys to metro areas. An estimate regarding restoration time was not immediately available.

LADWP has increased its staffing and added more people to handle phones.Call times in the last six days of the heatwave have been between five and 20 minutes.When LADWP switching billing systems a few months ago and some customers were overcharged, wait times were sometimes two to four hours long.

"Use the interactive voice response system, report the outage, it then registers in our system, our crews are dispatched when they’re available to get your power restored," LADWP spokesperson Joe Ramallo said.

An excessive heat warning was in effect for parts of Southern California through 7 p.m. The region was also under a red flag fire weather warning through 9 p.m.

The record high for Sept. 16 in downtown Los Angeles is 103 degrees, set in 1909. Other Sept. 16 record highs include 99 (1966) in Long Beach; 105 (1984) in Burbank; 104 (1951) in Lancaster; and 91 (1958) in Camarillo.

Annette Arreola, Mekahlo Medina and Willian Avila contributed to this report.

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