December 19, 2002

Utility, employees get ready for return of high winds and rainfall.

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Dec. 19, 2002-With widespread rain expected today and throughout the weekend, Southern California Edison (SCE) is taking steps to handle possible service interruptions caused by high winds and rainfall.

Materials and supplies needed to repair or protect facilities, such as fuses, transformers, wire, power poles and connectors, are being stockpiled to replace inventories depleted by this week's storm, which disrupted power for an estimated 126,000 customers.

"Edison can mobilize approximately 1,800 field personnel during a storm, and it can draw backup assistance from local contractors and neighboring utilities because of regional mutual-assistance agreements," said Ron Ferree, manager of SCE's distribution operations.

The utility's four storm-management centers located in Fontana, Dominguez Hills, Santa Ana and Ventura will remain on standby in anticipation of the next group of storms.  They will be aided by 34 district support centers located throughout SCE's 50,000-square-mile service area in central, coastal and Southern California.

During the last storm to hit the southland, SCE crews worked around the clock returning customers to service, replacing downed wire at nearly 100 locations, as well as 30 transformers, while coping with 106 downed power poles and seven severely damaged transmission towers.  Additionally, SCE spends more than $30 million annually keeping its lines free of trees and vegetation.

Between storms, SCE workers assess areas saturated by rain to identify potential problems and inspect the company's circuits.  Additionally, the company's Mobile Command Center, a converted motor home used for field communications and dispatching during emergencies and disasters, remains ready for direction to areas hardest hit by storms.

Staffing provisions also are being implemented so that approximately 600 customer service representatives at SCE's telephone centers will be able to assist customers as quickly as possible during a storm.

How You Can Prepare for a Storm

Remember: Never touch a power line, even if it is on the ground.  Electrical wires can kill or cause severe burns.

Customers should keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy at all times to use if there is no electricity.  Do not use candles for emergencies.  When the power goes out, be sure to check all the rooms in your home.  If some lights and appliances still work, then you may have blown a fuse or tripped a circuit breaker.

If the power is out in your entire home, see if your neighbor has any electricity; if not, the power is probably out in your entire neighborhood.  Be sure to turn off all of the appliances you were using when the electricity went off.  Leave a night light plugged in or a light turned on so you will know when the electricity comes back on.

If the power stays out for your home or neighborhood for more than a few minutes, call SCE at (800) 611-1911.  During bad storms, several customers could be calling, so please be patient.

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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 4.3 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