July 24, 2006

ROSEMEAD, Calif., July 24, 2006—With the region still coping with the effects of a prolonged heat wave, Southern California Edison (SCE) crews continued working Monday afternoon restoring service to 17,000 customers without power.

 Most of the power outages were weather-related—either failed transformers or overhead electric wires down due to high temperatures, high winds or lighting strikes.

“We have devoted every available resource to restoring service as quickly as possible,” said Ron Litzinger, SCE senior vice president for transmission and distribution.  “We’ve issued a call to our neighboring utilities for help, but they’re also coping with heat-storm conditions and have no personnel available to help us at this time.  We are currently assessing the availability and response time of personnel from utilities in other states.”

Since July 13, the heat, winds and lightning strikes have caused more than 765,000 SCE customers to lose power, ranging from flickering lights to lengthy outages.  Thus far, SCE has identified more than 725 transformer failures due to the weather conditions.

SCE officials warned that because of the many isolated problems, the ongoing heat and the electrical demand taxing the system, some customers could face lengthy waits for service restoration.

“We recognize how difficult it is for customers to deal with a power outage during a heat wave,” said Ron Ferree, SCE recovery manager.  “It’s inconvenient and they’re uncomfortable.  We’ll continue working around the clock until all service is restored.”

Many of the outages were in the Inland Empire, known for its higher temperatures.  A partial list of the communities affected Monday morning includes: Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands,  San Bernardino, Baldwin Park, Chino Hills, Claremont, Corona, Covina, Diamond Bar, Hacienda Heights, La Verne, Montclair, Pomona, Alhambra, Arcadia, Duarte, El Monte, Monrovia, Montebello, Monterey Park, Montrose, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, South Pasadena, Temple City, Whittier, Moorpark, Newbury Park, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Palmdale, Brea, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, Garden Grove, La Habra, La Mirada, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin, Lake Elsinore, Perris, San Jacinto, and Temecula.

SCE’s phone centers, which typically handle approximately 24,000 each weekend, received more than 150,000 calls on Saturday and Sunday.  To meet the many calls, employees were called in from home and worked extended hours, some staff was shifted from other work duties, and an outside vendor was secured to handle some calls.

SCE has opened “cool” centers in the Inland Empire.  Most of the centers are in San Bernardino County, while a few are in Riverside County, where additional centers are expected to open in July.  Current locations include:

  • Adelanto, 11497 Bartlett Ave., (760) 246-7874
  • Blythe, 137 N. Broadway, (760) 922-2582
  • Hesperia, 9974 I Ave., (951) 443-8625
  • Highgrove, 459 Center St., (951) 341-6634
  • Joshua Tree, 6171 Sunburst Ave., (760) 366-8415
  • Landers, 58380 Reche Rd., (760) 364-3270
  • Palm Desert, 76750 Catalina Way, (951) 443-8458
  • Palm Springs, 300 S. Calle El Segundo, (760) 325-1844
  • Perris, 234 S. D St., (951) 943-4616
  • Redlands, 111 W. Lugonia Ave., (909) 798-7545
  • Rubidoux, 5888 Mission Bl., (951) 275-9975
  • San Bernardino, 990 W. Mill St. and 1595 E. Art Townsend, (909) 383-0795
  • San Jacinto, 129 S. Ramona Bl., (951) 654-0889

Transportation to and from the centers, as well as refreshments, will be provided.  To arrange for transportation, customers can call the appropriate center.

Ferree said that the best thing customers can do to help improve the power situation is to conserve electricity, which would give strained circuits and equipment some relief.

SCE offers the following advice for customers in affected areas:

  • If you see a power line on the ground, stay away, especially if it is sparking. Please call SCE at 1-800-611-1911 to report a downed line. 
  • Please do not use candles for lighting, since they create a fire hazard.  Use flashlights, instead.
  • Do not use equipment designed for outdoor cooking indoors.  Such equipment can emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.
  • If you use a generator, please do not connect it to your household circuits.  That creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.  Instead, plug individual appliances directly into the generator, using a heavy-duty extension cord.
  • In the event of a power outage, turn off all appliances and other electrical equipment, except for a single light bulb.  The light bulb will be your signal that power has been restored.  Turning off appliances helps ensure against overloading, which could delay the restoration of service.

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An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.7 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.