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


How many seniors that we have living in the desert an the summer, and children that may very well become sick and die. This is a death sentence to many.

Branson Hunter

This comes as a result from the suit against Edison concerning the Paradise catastrophe. Edision is reacting, and they are protecting their assets. If they were to Inspecting the lines before high fire warning, that wouldn't help. Teens and residents seeking work could fill this labor gap. When it's 115 outside in the shade, 95 year old veteran Johnny Handcock isn't going to get his body heat lowered. He may die. His life is important. "Southern California Edison is awaiting a proposed decision from the California Public Utilities Commission its 2018 General Rate Case (GRC) increases Edison International (NYSE: EIX) today reported fourth quarter 2018 net loss of $1.4 billion, or $4.39 loss per share, compared to net loss of $545 million, or $1.67 loss per share, in the fourth quarter 2017." This is all part of our INFRASTRUCTURE. We need to work together on this with maybe more government concern about infrastructure failures. This is all about HOMELAND security. "Despite recently closing hundreds of bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad. The Department of Defense oversees more than 420 military installations in the 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.Sep 7, 2018. MEANWHILE, we find our own country's infrastructure is in daily peril because it is old and outdated. We find the Russians can bring down our grid because the codes are already in place. We find the POTUS and the US Senate sleeping like in the Rip Van Winkle story and it's not normal that they refuse to wake up and take care of what's not going on here.

Branson Hunter

Area power shortages during summer heat in our area is something like what's going on with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.Power shortes are akin to poor countries like Haiti, Somalia or Afghanistan. For goodness sake we can (and must) do better!

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