ROSEMEAD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Multiple wind-driven wildfires moving through Southern California are affecting customers and electric service in Southern California Edison’s service territory.
Prior to the fires, based on forecasted winds and red flag warnings, SCE mobilized a full emergency response team, pre-staged critical field personnel and implemented measures to mitigate impacts of high winds and potential fires. Driven by public safety concerns for customers in extremely high-wind areas, these measures included a preventative power shutoff to the Idyllwild area in Riverside County for portions of the period from December 7th through December 8th.
The Thomas fire has significantly affected customers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and is continuing to threaten the transmission lines in the area. The fire has intermittently interrupted service for the Santa Barbara area, at times leaving more than 85,000 customers without service. SCE is coordinating its emergency efforts with federal, state, county and local officials. SCE crews are continuing to monitor the situation and have developed contingency plans that include the use of temporary generators and re-routing of power.
Restoration of equipment is important in order to restore and maintain service for customers. Restoration of SCE equipment damaged by the Liberty fire is complete. Restoration of equipment damaged in the Rye and Creek fires is targeted for completion by December 12th, contingent on fire and weather conditions. Where safe, restoration is ongoing in the Thomas fire area, although this fire remains largely uncontained. All restoration work is being conducted in close coordination with fire agencies and other first responders to ensure public and employee safety. SCE teams will continue to assess damage and make repairs when safe to do so.
SCE personnel have completed damage assessments in a majority of the Thomas fire areas where access has been granted and in all of the areas impacted by the Creek and Rye fires. More than 600 SCE workers have been deployed on the wildfires, including those repairing fire-damaged equipment (including damaged poles, wires and insulators), setting poles, installing electrical equipment and stringing wire to restore power to customers as quickly and safely as possible. As of today, in the areas that have been inspected, crews have replaced over 300 of the more than 500 poles that were destroyed, while damage assessment continues in the Thomas fire area. The company continues conducting inspections on the ground and using aerial resources.
Edison International is supporting customers impacted by the fires through a $250,000 donation to the Southern California Wildfire Fund through the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. In addition, the company has provided a $40,000 grant to United Way Ventura County for local support of its outreach to fire victims. SCE is working with known medically sensitive customers in the areas impacted by the fires, including providing temporary generators and other support for critical care customer without power. The company also continues to work with affected customers to offer flexible payment arrangements or bill forgiveness depending upon the situation.
The causes of the wildfires are being investigated by CAL FIRE, other fire agencies and the California Public Utilities Commission. The investigations now include locations beyond those identified last week as the apparent origin of these fires. SCE believes the investigations now include the possible role of its facilities. SCE continues to cooperate with the investigations. The wildfire investigations may take a considerable amount of time to complete. SCE will provide updated information as circumstances warrant.
Safety around Power during Outages
- Stay away from downed wires. If you see a wire down, call 911.
- If you are using generators, do not run them inside your home. There is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning from generators used indoors. Plug appliances directly into the generator, do not plug the generator into the 220v line, as this could cause backfeed which could electrocute crews working on the lines.
- Stay away from crews working in or around lines or vehicles. They are working as quickly as possible and they should not be distracted from this dangerous work.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of approximately 15 million via 5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.
Safe Harbor Statement for Investors
Statements contained in this press release about the wildfires, and other statements that are not purely historical, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect our current expectations; however, such statements involve risks and uncertainties and actual results could differ materially from current expectations. Important factors that could cause different results include the impact of the Thomas fire, the Creek fire and the other wildfires, including the timing and outcome of the investigations by CAL FIRE and the California Public Utilities Commission and whether SCE will be liable for and able to recover costs relating to the wildfires not covered by insurance.
Other important factors are discussed in Southern California Edison’s Form 10-K, most recent Form 10-Q, and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available on our website: www.edisoninvestor.com.
Edison International and Southern California Edison Company have no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether due to new information, future events, or otherwise.