January 7, 2003

Approximately 40,000 customers still without power early Tuesday

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Jan. 7, 2003, 8 a.m.-Southern California Edison crews continue to work around the clock repairing damaged power lines and poles and restoring service to customers affected by the gale-force winds that have plagued the southland since Sunday evening.

Since Sunday night, gale-force winds have pounded the southland, toppling trees into power lines and poles and causing power disruptions for approximately 730,000 customers who have suffered power interruptions ranging from flickering lights to outages lasting hours.

As of 8 a.m. today, SCE officials report nearly 40,000 customers still without power.  Approximately 1,000 SCE customers have been without power for more than 24 hours.  Customers suffering long-term outages will be given priority during the restoration efforts, SCE officials said.  To expedite restoration efforts, SCE has supplemented its crews with contract crews.

Areas hardest hit by the winds include the San Gabriel Valley, the Inland Empire, and Orange County.

Due to the severity of damage in some areas, such as Arcadia where 29 poles were toppled, SCE officials cautioned that it could be Thursday before service is fully restored to all customers, and possibly longer.

"We will continue our efforts to get everyone energized again," said Ron Ferree, manager of SCE's distribution operations.  "But because of the all the damage, the fires in the region, and these strong winds, some customers will likely remain without power until Thursday, if not longer.  Most customers will get their power restored before then."

Customers whose service is affected should call SCE at 1-800-611-1911 or the telephone number on their bill.  As outage information is received from SCE field personnel the company's automated telephone system is automatically updated in real time.  The system provides all available information, including the cause of the outage, repair efforts, and estimated restoration times.

The most recent weather forecast calls for diminishing winds by late afternoon today.  To help customers minimize the effect of power outages, SCE offers the following advice: 

  •  If you see downed lines, please call SCE and report it to the police and fire departments immediately.
  • Turn off and unplug any unnecessary electrical equipment, especially sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Make sure you have a battery-operated radio and flashlights.  Check the batteries now to make sure they are fresh.  Do not rely on candles for lighting during a power outage, since they pose a significant fire hazard. 
  • If you or someone you care for is dependent on electrically operated medical equipment, you may want to make backup power arrangements now, in case a power outage affects that equipment. 
  • Do not cook indoors with charcoal or other fossil fuels on facilities not meant for indoor use.  They can create deadly fumes if used indoors.
  • If possible, stay out of areas severely impacted by the wind damage.  Traffic signals could be inoperative, SCE equipment such as poles could be blocking the street, and utility crews could be in the area making repairs.

# # #

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 4.3 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.  For more information on the California electricity market, see www.sce.com.