January 7, 2003

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Jan. 7, 2003, 4 p.m.-Southern California Edison crews will continue their around-the-clock efforts to restore electric service to customers affected by the severe winds that have pummeled the southland since Sunday.

As of 4 p.m. today, approximately 41,000 SCE customers were still without power.  Officials said that, while progress had been made in some areas, the ongoing winds have continued to create new problems for the utility's customers.  The windstorm has interrupted electric service for 730,000 customers for varying periods.

"We're doing all that we can to return electric service to our customers who have been inconvenienced by one of the worst windstorms in company history," said Richard Rosenblum, SCE senior vice president of transmission and distribution.  "We have been restoring power as quickly as possible, and we appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers.  Our distribution system was severely damaged in some areas, and it's going to take some time to repair it."

Rosenblum warned that some customers in areas hardest hit by the severe winds could be without power until Thursday, and possibly longer.  Approximately 3,700 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.

Rosenblum noted that some 160 SCE crews have been working diligently since Sunday night to repair system damage and restore power.  SCE crews will work throughout the night making repairs and restoring service.  SCE is also using more than 80 contract crews to restore power to customers in the hardest hit areas.

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

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 tonight.  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.