January 8, 2003

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Jan. 8, 2003, 10 a.m.-Only 6,300 Southern California Edison customers currently remain without power, thanks to utility crews working continuously throughout the night and early morning in the wake of this week's brutal windstorm.

Meanwhile, SCE has arranged for 24 crews from neighboring Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to assist with power restoration efforts in the hardest hit areas of the Inland Empire and Orange County.  The PG&E crews are expected to arrive by late morning today.  SCE is also using more than 80 contract crews to restore service.

"We greatly appreciate the much-needed mutual aid assistance from PG&E," said SCE Senior Vice President Richard Rosenblum.  "This will help expedite the service restoration effort so our customers can get their lives back to normal."

All crews will focus on those communities coping with long-term power outages.  As of 10 a.m. today, approximately 550 SCE customers had been without power for more than 48 hours.  Most were in the Orange County region.  Approximately, 2,900 customers were coping with power outages that have lasted more than 24 hours.

The windstorm that pummeled the southland for much of this week interrupted electric service for more than 760,000 customers for varying periods.

Rosenblum noted that even with the additional manpower assistance, some customers in areas hardest hit by the severe winds could be without power until Thursday, and possibly longer due to extensive damage to the electric system and other onsite circumstances.

Approximately 160 SCE crews have been working diligently since Sunday night to repair system damage and restore power.  SCE crews will work around the clock to make repairs and restore service.

"Our two primary goals at this point," said Rosenblum, are to get all customers, especially those coping with long-term outages, returned to service as quickly as possible, and to give our crews some much-needed rest, as many of them have worked very long hours under trying conditions."

Affected customers who want current information about service restoration efforts may 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 available information, including the cause of the outage, repair efforts, and estimated restoration times.

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.

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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 www.sce.com.

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