Southern California Edison engineers were able to avoid killing power to some parts of the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu, as winds approaching 80 miles per hour began to diminish Sunday.
The utility had — for the first time ever in Los Angeles County — phoned Malibu residents early Sunday, to warn of the possibility that some circuits would be turned off in an attempt to prevent fires as wicked Santa Ana winds blasted the mountainous city.
The warnings came as mountaintop wind gauges northwest of Malibu clocked 79 mile per hour gusts, and a station on the city’s northern city limits above Billionaire’s Beach hit 65 mph.
The Malibu Farmers Market was cancelled for the first time in its history, an organizer said, due to high winds.
But no deliberate blackouts, and only a few unplanned outages, developed in Malibu Sunday, SCE spokesman Paul Griffo said.
“We did not have to cut any circuits, and we do not anticipate having to do that tonight,” he told City News Service at midafternoon.
Winds hit 60 mph in Saugus Sunday, and 59 mph in nearby Newhall Pass, the NWS said.
And gusts were diminishing at midafternoon, as the National Weather Servicecancelled its High Wind warnings. High Wind advisories, for peak gusts to 50 mph, remained set to expire at 8 p.m.
In an email to Malibu city officials, Edison said that “due to public safety concerns, SCE may also turn off power to specific circuits in areas where there is a high risk of predicted extreme winds.
“Your city has one/several of these impacted circuits,” said an Edison email sent to Malibu officials.
The SCE spokesman, Griffo, said the notice to Malibu was the first time Edison had taken that step in Los Angeles County. The company saw its stock price drop 11 percent when the Thomas Fire broke out two weeks ago in Santa Paula, amidst investor concern that parent company Edison International may be liable for fire damages.
The Thomas Fire, now the largest in California history, has burned for 14 days and taken out more than 700 houses in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Its cause has not been determined, but state officials have notified SC Edison it may have been their equipment that failed near Santa Paula, to spark the fire.
Ten days ago, on Dec. 15, the utility shut off power to the Riverside County mountain town of Idyllwild for 36 hours, when a windstorm threatened that area.
A for Sunday, about 2,000 Edison accounts in western L.A. County had lost power as of 10:45 a.m.
Sheriff’s deputies reported that power had gone out in parts of Agoura Hills at 9:15 a.m. Edison officials said they were compiling a list of outages, and said about 2,000 customer accounts had lost power as of 10:45 due to wind-related problems.
–City News Service
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