Power Outages Plague Beverly Hills

City officials and residents are increasingly frustrated with continued power outages in Beverly Hills. On Sept. 9 at 11:26 p.m., the Trousdale Estates area experienced an outage, leaving 213 residents in the area without power for nearly 29 hours during a heatwave. To restore power, above-ground wiring was installed near Corey Avenue as a part of temporary repairs and on Sept. 11 at 4:10 a.m., electricity was restored. On Sept. 14, power was lost again at 3:05 p.m., in the process of reconnecting residents to the grid and was restored approximately three hours later. The second outage impacted at least 421 residents.

The Beverly Hills City Council raised the outages as a topic of discussion at its Sept. 12 regular meeting, expressing significant discontent with Southern California Edison (SCE).SCE provides power to more than 50,000 square miles across Southern California, including Beverly Hills.”I think that the city needs to file a claim,” said Councilmember Lester Friedman. “I think we, as a city, have to be more proactive in showing SCE that we mean business.”

Randy Simon is a resident of the Trousdale area. He believes that the outages aren’t only inconvenient but also present a number of safety issues. “The power outages are a serious safety issue for people who have gates that cannot be opened manually, due to their weight and incline. The fire department or police department will not be able to get in and we can’t get out,” Simon told the Courier. 

Power disruptions in Trousdale have plagued the community for the past two years, with more than 17 outages. At a Study Session on Aug. 23, Council invited SCE to explain the outages and efforts to combat them. SCE went into detail about its “Capital Improvement Plan” that will strengthen the circuitry that provides power to Trousdale. 

Despite SCE’s promise of proactivity, the Council still supported the idea of filing a formal comment to the California Public Utilities Commission and invited SCE to return to a meeting in November. 

In light of the Sept. 9 outage and its severity, November may not be soon enough. The Council has requested that SCE return with a higher-ranking official to its Oct. 11 meeting. 

SCE Media Relations Senior Advisor David Song told the Courier that the company is sorry for disappointing its customers. “Outages, like the one that happened, we take them seriously,” said Song. “We feel bad for those customers who had to endure a whole day of the heatwave without power.” 

Song wants to assure the community that change is around the corner and that there have already been plans scheduled to improve reliability. There are two circuits that provide power to the Trousdale area, Harratt and Playboy. The Harratt circuit is currently scheduled to be upgraded from four kilovolts to 16 kilovolts, to be the same as the Playboy circuit. 

The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year. “We want residents to know that we have had a plan that we’ve been working on, and it will be completed shortly,” he added.

Song claims that the exposed cables used as a temporary fix will be removed within the next two weeks, with the permanent improvements starting in the last quarter of this year. 

Mayor Lili Bosse told the Courier that she would go to any length necessary to hold SCE accountable and get the service she believes her residents deserve. “To say that I am angry is not strong enough,” said Bosse. “I will do anything and everything. I will get everyone involved at every level to make sure what occurred this past weekend never ever happens again.”