October 29, 2003

Utility plan includes bill payment waiver for customers whose homes were destroyed, volunteer support, and $100,000 to American Red Cross for emergency shelter and food.

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Oct. 29, 2003—Southern California Edison (SCE) today announced the creation of a special relief program to cover unbilled electricity usage for residential customers whose homes were destroyed or are uninhabitable due to this week’s devastating wildfires.  Those customers will not have to pay for electricity used since their last bill at those damaged residences. 

Qualifying residential customers are encouraged to contact SCE toll-free at: 1-800-250-7339.  For other customers facing financial hardship as a result of the fires, SCE offers special payment arrangements. They should contact SCE at 1-800-655-4555.

Through its Energy in Action volunteer program, SCE is coordinating with cities and local relief agencies to send employees and resources where they are needed most in communities SCE serves.

The company also announced that the Edison International Foundation will make a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to provide emergency shelter, meals and basic essentials to families displaced by the wildfires.

Meanwhile, SCE crews and support personnel—more than 1,000 strong—continue their round-the-clock efforts making repairs and restoring service to areas ravaged by the wildfires.  Responding to hundreds of locations with wires down, SCE crews are working to replace nearly 800 power poles damaged or downed by the fires.  Through a mutual aid agreement, two nearby utilities—Pacific Gas & Electric and Sierra Pacific—have sent eight repair crews to assist SCE combat the effects of the southland wildfires.

“Conditions permitting, we’ll continue to restore service in damaged areas as quickly as we can,” said Larry Grant, SCE vice president for power delivery.  “We want to thank our customers for their patience during this emergency situation, but we also want to caution them that some areas—because of terrain, access problems and the raging wildfires—could be without power for days.”

To better cope with any scheduled or unscheduled power outage, SCE advises customers to:

  • Check on the medical needs of family and neighbors.
  • Use flashlights.  Don’t use candles, which can start fires.
  • Keep battery-powered radio with fresh batteries to stay informed.
  • Maintain at least three-quarters of a tank of gasoline in your vehicle(s). Gas station pumps do not operate during power outages.
  • Have alternate, back-up arrangements in place to keep perishable food chilled and fresh in the event of prolonged outages.  Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible during an outage. A well-filled, unopened freezer will keep food frozen for hours without electricity.
  • Never connect a portable generator directly to a power line.  State law requires that customers inform us when a generator is being used at a home or business.  Call us at 1-800-655-4555.
  • Never touch a power line suspended in the air or lying on the ground.

For more information, customers can call SCE at 1-800-655-4555 or visit the utility’s Web site at www.sce.com.

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An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 12 million via 4.5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.