July 22, 2003

INLAND EMPIRE, Calif., July 22, 2003—Southern California Edison (SCE) said today that the utility is compiling an extensive inventory of all healthy, dead or dying trees that could fall on its power lines in areas devastated by the bark beetle infestation in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

“We are only cataloguing the trees at this time,” said Bob Jensen, SCE director of public affairs for the Inland Empire.  “We’ll determine later which trees need to be removed.”

Jensen said SCE’s tree removal schedule will be based on the priorities established by the Mountain Area Safety Task Force (MAST), a coalition of local, state, and federal public safety and forestry agencies.   SCE’s tree-removal schedule is based on the priorities established by MAST.

SCE will attempt to contact residents and property owners, typically two weeks before the scheduled removal.  Customers will not be charged if it becomes necessary for SCE to remove dead or dying trees threatening its power lines on a customer’s property.

“It may not be possible to provide advance notification in all instances,” Jensen said, “especially in cases involving a significant potential hazard requiring urgent attention.”

SCE strongly urges property owners having trees trimmed and removed to use only experienced licensed or certified arborists qualified to perform work near power lines.  Only experienced arborists qualified to do such work should trim trees near power lines.   SCE customers using these professionals can arrange to have SCE temporarily drop their service wires to a building at no charge by calling 1-800-655-4555.  However, a minimum notice of five business days is required.

More information on SCE’s response to the bark beetle problem can be found at www.sce.com.

For more information on tree removal, the bark beetle, and other issues related to the forest, customers can contact the CDF at (909) 881-6900, the United States Forest Service at (909) 866-3437, and the San Bernardino County Fire Department at (909) 337-1225.

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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.