November 3, 2003

INLAND EMPIRE, Calif., Nov. 3, 2003—Southern California Edison officials announced Monday that power had been restored to approximately 2,000 customers in the Lake Arrowhead area but warned it could be days or perhaps weeks before all repairs to SCE’s electrical infrastructure are completed in the hardest hit areas ravaged by wildfires in the San Bernardino Mountains.

“We were only given access to these areas over the weekend,” said Ron Ferree, SCE director of grid operations.  “After making a damage assessment and an inspection of each circuit, our crews will need to rebuild parts of the electrical infrastructure from scratch.”

In many cases, Ferree said, there’s nothing left of SCE facilities and equipment.  “Our crews will be replacing everything: poles, wire, cable, transformers, switches, circuit breakers,” Ferree said.  “They’ll be doing this in areas with limited access though rough terrain while working in very cold conditions.  At the same time, they’ll need to watch out for smoldering trees, which could split and fall on them or our equipment.”

Approximately 22,000 customers remain without power in the communities of Crestline, Running Springs, and Lake Arrowhead.  The communities lost power Saturday, Oct. 26, when wildfires knocked out two transmission lines supplying the area.  All told, nearly 300,000 customers suffered some kind of interruption, from flickering lights to outages lasting days, due to the wildfires. 

“We’ll work as quickly as we can to get them energized,” said Ferree.  “We appreciate their patience while we perform a difficult task under trying conditions.”

The wildfires damaged or downed an estimated 1,500 power poles and approximately 220 transformers.  In addition, SCE recorded more than 340 locations with wires down.

SCE has approximately 500 field and support personnel working to restore power in SCE’s eastern region, most of them in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Customers seeking information or an update on power restoration efforts should call 1-800-611-1911.  Officials noted that questioning SCE crew members while they make repairs will only delay the process of restoring electrical service.

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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.