MORONGO BASIN — Residents may have to deal with lengthy power outages this summer as Southern California Edison tries to prevent wildfires.

Edison representative Jennifer Cusack warned about the outages during the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council meeting Monday, June 10.

“There’s just so much vegetation out there,” Cusack said. “You’ll see a lot more outages this year.”

Edison will also be building local weather stations to track micro climates, reducing brush around power poles and making improvements to the grid, Cusack said.

“There is an inherent risk to just having electrical lines in our community,” she said. “The intensity of these wildfires is tremendous.”

SoCal Edison and other utility providers got the go-ahead to cut power to prevent wildfires last week by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The move follows a state report blaming Pacific Gas and Electric lines for causing the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California’s history.

Cusack warned Morongo Basin residents that wildfire prevention measures could include de-energizing lines, leaving customers in the dark, if weather and other conditions warrant that step.

“Even the smallest spark can cause a fire,” she said, calling the de-energizing of lines the utility’s “tool of last resort.”

She advised everyone to be prepared to lose power. SoCal Edison plans to notify customers before pulling the power during high fire danger.

Ideally, she said, residents will be notified two days before the power is cut.

She added that such power outages will not be brief and will not end until Edison workers have had a chance to “drive the line” and inspect the affected power lines before turning the electricity back on.

When Edison used this method before, in Big Bear, 18 customers went without power for more than a day.

When someone in the audience worried about older people on oxygen, Cusack urged people to be prepared, possibly with backup generators.

“It’s really about being ready,” she said.

(3) comments

knewb

PUC folds every time Edison asks for anything. Cutting power during high fire risk is BS. They want to be able to cut power to save money in high demand times. Excuses excuses.

Blayd

Maybe you should visit the "Camp Fire" burn area. I am sure those in Paradise, CA would beg to differ. They don't save money when not selling electricity. It's also quite costly to inspect EVERY line that is de-engergized before re-engergizing them. SoCal Edison needs you grid connected and live to make their money. Their wholesale costs are factored into their tier rates. Piggy users pay biggie rates. Don't like it...install solar panels and a storage device.

Benny

She says "so be prepared for long power outages this summer". I say "be prepared to get sued this summer". Having power cut off in the desert in NOT an inconvenience .... it's a matter of life or death. You can't live in 120 degree temps. Get yourself a generator or solar panels....enough to power your swamp cooler and fridge and a couple of lights. This is no joke.

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