Jon Kredo, 54, just came off an eight-hour break and is about to start another 16-hour shift. It’s been like this since the heat wave arrived in Southern California on Saturday. He last saw his family on Monday, but that’s all in a day’s work for this Southern California Edison (SCE) troubleman.

“They’re used to it. I just send them a text message to tell them where I am at,” said Kredo of his two kids and wife. “There’s a lot of pride in helping people, and it’s a positive experience to be able to help our customers.”

Kredo is in Whittier today with four other crew members and a supervisor to help restore power. It’s the latest in a number of cities he’s worked during this recent heat wave. Most of the calls have been for repairs to transformers that have overheated. Other calls have been for repairs to power poles. 

Video Credit: Nicholas Roy

Most of the SCE crews out restoring power during this current heat wave first worked a 24-hour shift followed by an eight-hour break. That was then followed by subsequent 16-hour shifts and eight-hour breaks that will continue until the heat wave is over.

“I’m not tired; I’m used to this. It’s all I’ve ever done,” said Kredo, who has worked for SCE for 32 years. He’s currently assigned to the Antelope Valley District. 

His current shift will be over at 4 a.m. and he’s not sure yet if he’ll be able to go home. He’s seen some thunder clouds in the distance, which may mean some more shifts before he’s released by his supervisor. 

During this heat wave, SCE has replaced 21,934 feet of cable, 3,080 feet of wire and 369 transformers. In comparison, SCE replaced 1,755 transformers during the Labor Day 2007 heat wave and 1,312 transformers during the July 2006 heat wave.

SCE’s year-to-date peak consumption of 23,055 megawatts was achieved on Monday. SCE’s all-time weekday peak is 23,303 megawatts on Aug. 31, 2007. The California Independent System Operator said electricity consumption peaked Monday afternoon at 45,090 megawatts, exceeding the summer’s previous peak of 44,200 megawatts on July 30.

“Our system has been challenged over the past five days,” said Paul Grigaux, SCE’s vice president of Transmission, Substations and Operations. “We want to continue to encourage our customers to conserve whenever possible. We thank them for their patience as Southern California Edison crews work day and night to restore power as quickly and as safely possible.”

Kredo has been able to speak to a number of customers during this heat wave, many of them appreciative of the crews’ efforts. Most customers wanted to know the timeframe for their repairs. 

“We don’t want anyone off for more than 24 hours, and we worry about our customers,” he said. “But everyone has been pretty positive. I treat our customers like I would like to be treated.”

Over the next few years, SCE plans to invest billions of dollars to strengthen its system-wide grid. Some upgrades have already taken place in the cities of Santa Ana, Inglewood, Palm Springs and Manhattan Beach.

The upgrades are making a difference, said Kredo, who has noticed fewer outages during this current heat wave compared to past storms.

“Heat is hard because it overloads the transformers,” he said. “But it’s a whole lot better than in the past, a lot less outages than in the past.”