Southern California Edison (SCE) announced upcoming planned maintenance outages at the Nov. 1 City Council Study Session and offered an explanation for the outage on Oct. 24 that left more than 1,000 homes without power for several hours.
SCE Principal Manager Rudy Gonzales spoke to the visibly irate Councilmembers as part of an ongoing discussion to address the utility’s inconsistent history in the city. The Courier has reported on numerous power outages over the past several months, including one outage in the Trousdale Estates area that lasted for more than 24 hours during an intense heat wave in September.
According to Gonzales, the outage on Oct. 24 happened during ongoing construction on the Harratt, Playboy, Roxbury, Maple, and Hilton power circuits that is expected to end in early 2023. At 5:08 p.m., 2,215 customers lost power when work near Doheny Drive and Loma Vista Street caused three circuits to shutter. Around half of the impacted customers had power restored within three hours, but the remaining 1,200 customers were in the dark until around midnight.
“This kind of feels like groundhog day,” Councilmember Sharona Nazarian told Gonzales. “It’s a recurring nightmare that keeps happening.”
SCE Media Relations Senior Advisor David Song told the Courier that the power was restored so slowly in part because the affected circuits ran through areas that are considered at high risk for wildfires, which require an extra level of caution.
“There’s a policy in place for high-risk fire areas,” Song said. “Even if they know how to fix the problem, they have to patrol the entire portion of the circuit that’s in that area.”
Gonzales announced two upcoming outages tentatively planned for Nov. 15 and another on Nov. 29. As of press time, two additional outages are listed on the SCE website, one on Nov. 7 and one on Nov. 9. Gonzales said that residents affected by the outages will be directly notified and that SCE will do everything in its power to stop another widespread outage from happening.
The Courier has learned that several Trousdale residents are considering legal action against SCE if the outages do not stop, although what kind of legal action is unclear. Film producer Randy Simon said that he and some other residents may stop paying their electricity bills to get their message across.
“If this continues, SCE should not be surprised if we collectively refuse to pay our bills until there are at least six months without an outage,” Simon said at the Study Session.
Residents can visit www.sce.com/outage-center/check-outage-status to view future planned outages and view the status of ongoing outages in their neighborhood. The next discussion between SCE and the City Council will be at their regular meeting on Nov. 15.