October 26, 2000

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Oct. 26, 2000-Southern California Edison officials said this afternoon that approximately 6,000 customers are expected to be without service until late this evening, the result of an early-morning fire at one of the company's underground vaults here.

An estimated 15,000 customers lost power because of the fire.  Service was restored within a few hours for most of the customers, but, as of 2:30 p.m., approximately 6,000 customers were still without service.  Company officials said it would be late evening before service was restored to all the affected customers.

"Our crews will work nonstop until all service is restored," said Greg Smith, an SCE operations manager.  "There was considerable damage done to this equipment, and we appreciate our customers' patience while we make repairs."

The fire, which began shortly after 5 a.m., interrupted 20 circuits at two substations and did extensive damage to underground equipment, cables, and structures.  Cause of the fire is still undetermined.

This afternoon, SCE representatives will distribute 12-hour light sticks, as well as safety advice, to affected customers. 

Customers still without power are in three areas.  Area #1 is roughly east of Idaho Street, west of Colorado Avenue., north of 3rd St., and south of Lincoln Boulevard.  Area #2 is roughly east of 3rd St., west of 9th St., north of Colorado Avenue, and south of Santa Monica Boulevard.  Area #3 is roughly west of Colorado Avenue, south of San Vicente Boulevard, east of Ocean Avenue, and north of Colorado Avenue.

SCE officials suggest motorists and pedestrians avoid streets where crews are making repairs and restoring power.

  • 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.
  • 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 company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving more than 11 million people in a 50,000-square-mile area within central, coastal and Southern California.