January 11, 2005

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Jan. 11, 2005–Southern California Edison (SCE) crews will continue to work through the day and night restoring power and repairing equipment as the state recovers from a record-setting rainfall.  By mid-afternoon today, the rain, wind, ice, and snow had resulted in interrupted electricity service for more than 237,000 SCE customers, since midnight Sunday.

Since a series of storm began Dec. 28, 2004, approximately 550,000 (a cumulative total) SCE customers have endured some type of service interruptions ranging from momentary flickering lights to outages lasting hours and, in some cases, days. The hardest hit areas include mountain communities like Lake Arrowhead, Shaver Lake, and Frazier Park.  Other hard-hit areas include Ventura, the San Joaquin Valley, Victorville, San Jacinto, Redlands, Ontario, Thousand Oaks, the Antelope Valley, Santa Barbara, and Long Beach.

The outages in excess of a day generally were caused by access problems, road closures, and heavy snows in mountain communities.  In some cases, SCE crews had to park their trucks and hike to work sites, hand carrying heavy equipment and tools in deep snow or mud.  The crews sometimes had to retreat from a work site as snow-laden branches fell around or near them.

“We appreciate the patience of our customers during this series of rain storms,” said Ron Ferree, SCE director of grid operations.  “We’ll continue working until everyone’s service is back on.  Our crews are working long hours in cold, wet, adverse conditions.  They also have to deal with a lot of access problems caused by all the snow, flooding and road closures.  Even though the weather’s clear, we’re still dealing with moving earth and saturated ground, which makes it easier for a strong wind to blow down trees.”

As a safety precaution, SCE has de-energized the approximately 250 customers living in the coastal community of La Conchita in Ventura County, where a devastating mudslide occurred Monday.  Power there will remain out until authorities can determine the area is safe.

The most recent weather forecasts include no significant precipitation predictions.  SCE is restocking materials and supplies depleted by the recent rains, including fuses, transformers, wire, power poles, and connectors.

SCE workers will be assessing areas saturated by rain and inspecting the company’s circuits. Staffing provisions also are being implemented so that service representatives at SCE’s telephone centers will be ready to assist customers as quickly as possible during any storm.

SCE offers the following advice for customers without electric service:

  •  If you see a power line on the ground, stay away, especially if it is sparking. Call SCE to report a downed line. 
  • To report power outages call SCE at 800-611-1911.
  • 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 (NYSE:EIX)company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.6 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.