Residents across Los Angeles county are bracing themselves Sunday for the possibility the lights could go off, as the non-profit that manages California’s electricity lifted a Stage 2 Emergency, but kept residents on Flex Alert status.
This follows a Saturday when thousands of people across the county lost power amid a record-breaking heat wave and rolling blackouts, as both Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power saw scattered outages.
As of 5 a.m. Sunday, the state’s power usage hit its lowest point, with plenty of capacity available, but demand has been forecast at about 50,000 megawatts, while the California Independent System Operator, or ISO, said it thinks generators will be able make around 43,000 megawatts available — despite environmental rules being relaxed to accommodate consumers.
The agency said that could mean lights out for some people between 4 and 9 p.m. Sunday.
According to Southern California Edison spokesman Ron Gales, Saturdays’ blackouts ended at 8:35 p.m. Saturday.
“No rotating outages tonight.,” he said.
SCE was experiencing most of the larger problems as of 4:30 p.m. Saturday , with 122 total outages affecting more than 21,200 customers, Gales said. That included 1,752 customers in Alhambra, 1,429 customers in an unincorporated area near Calabasas, 833 customers in Long Beach, 4,413 in Monterey Park and about 2,300 in unincorporated Los Angeles County, according to Edison.
The DWP reported about 14,000 customers were without power in its service area, with the most affected neighborhoods at 6 p.m. including Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, Sun Valley, El Sereno, Reseda and Mid-City, according to the DWP’s Dawn Cotterell. “If you are one of them, be assured our crews are responding and working to restore your power.”
Both utilities also reported a large number of scattered outages affecting fewer people.
Just after 10 p.m. the DWP announced it had restored power to 5,000 customers and was adding new crews at midnight to continue working on getting everyone else back up and running. A spokesperson estimated that could take anywhere from four to 12 hours.
Glendale Water & Power hasn’t had to institute a rolling blackout strategy yet, but overloaded transformers shut off the lights Saturday for customers on the 500 block of Hill Drive. By 10 p.m., crews had restored power there.
A Stage 2 Emergency means “the CA ISO has taken all mitigating actions and is no longer able to provide its expected energy requirements. A Stage 2 warning requires ISO intervention in the market, such as ordering power plants online,” according to the agency’s website.
“SCE has crews at the ready as we know the high temperatures this weekend can strain the system particularly during peak times in the afternoon and evening hours,” Gales said. “Our focus right now is on safely delivering reliable power to our customers through this weekend’s extreme weather event and, if directed, implement CA ISO directed rotating outages to avoid broader system disturbances.”
The Southland was experiencing a historic heat wave this weekend, with forecasters predicting temperatures near all-time records in some areas. Woodland Hills broke its all-time record with a temperature of 118 on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
Elsewhere, Van Nuys had reached 115 degrees by 3 p.m., while it was 115 in Chatsworth and Duarte, 114 in Calabasas, 113 in Pasadena, 112 in Santa Clarita and 114 in Burbank, tying the city’s all-time high.
An excessive heat warning issued by the NWS will be in effect until 8 p.m. Monday in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains, Santa Catalina Island and the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, San Gabriel and Antelope valleys. In Orange County, the warning will be in force in coastal areas from 10 a.m. Saturday until 8 p.m. Monday.
Cooling centers will be open throughout the weekend in Los Angeles and Orange counties. They can be found at ready.lacounty.gov/heat/, and www.211oc.org/resource-centers/extreme-heat-cooling-centers.html.
Authorities noted that due to the coronavirus pandemic, cooling centers will be limited in capacity and restrictions will be in place, such as requiring face coverings.
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