California power cuts, Edison might cut power to nearly 35000.
Southern California Edison cut power to 85 customers in unincorporated areas between Beaumont and Banning on Tuesday and may cut power to of 61,000 customers across Riverside County, nearly doubling the number of customers considered earlier.
There are 141,500 customers across seven counties under consideration for a public safety power shutoff, including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Riverside, Kern, Inyo and Mono counties. The utility decided to cut power because weather conditions are increasing the threat of wildfires. The National Weather Service predicted high temperatures and gusty Santa Ana winds reaching speeds of up to 35 mph on Tuesday.
The first customers were cut off starting at 2:46 p.m. Tuesday, the utility said.
Edison initially put roughly 41,000 customers under consideration for the preemptive shutoffs after extreme fire risk weather was forecast early Monday, but the number more than doubled by 8 p.m., when the utility added circuits in Kern County to its monitoring list. Tuesday afternoon, areas in Mono and Inyo counties were added.
Currently, the only affected area is in a high-fire risk area near Dysart Park known by the utility as the Dysart circuit.
Stefanie Sullivan, a meteorologist in Riverside with the weather service, told City News Service the winds are a result of a low-pressure system hanging over the region and that humidity could drop as low as 15% in the Inland Empire on Tuesday afternoon.
“As the humidity plummets today, so will the winds, so any critical fire weather conditions will be isolated and short-lived,” Sullivan said.
As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, humidity was measured at 10% by a weather station at the Riverside municipal airport. Weather forecasts predict showers in areas of the county Wednesday and Thursday. In the Coachella Valley, the forecast rain was less than 0.1 inch. Humidity in the valley ranged from 15% in the western reaches to 22% near Indio.
Communities affected in Riverside include parts of Hemet, Banning, unincorporated areas between Beaumont and Banning, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, Menifee, Moreno Valley, Perris, San Jacinto, Cabazon, Diamond Valley Lake and Sycamore Springs.
The potential outage affects as many as 750 customers who depend on life-saving medical equipment, an Edison spokesman said, such as dialysis patients or people on respirators who qualify for a discounted power rate. Edison sends employees to notify those customers of a potential outage, should they not receive notifications by phone call, text message, or email. Edison does not send employees out to neighborhoods asking for personal customer information, the spokesman said.
An additional 64,500 customers in portions of four counties, including Kern, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara. The county with the highest number of potentially affected customers, 42,000, is San Bernardino.