Update on Recent SCE Activity and Power Outages in Malibu - June 15, 2021
Residents in Malibu have likely noticed numerous incidents involving Southern California Edison (SCE) and power outages in the Malibu area. Given the community’s concerns about wildfire safety, Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) and unplanned power outages, SCE reported to the City on several of these incidents.
POWER OUTAGE CAUSED BY VEHICLE COLLISION
A vehicle colliding with a power pole on Bluewater Road in Point Dume at approximately 10:30 PM on Sunday, June 13, resulted in a power outage for 396 customers in Point Dume (out of 2,358 total customers on the Cuthbert Circuit, which has experienced numerous PSPS outages over the past year). SCE sent automated notifications to affected customers, and had restored power to all but a few dozen customers as of 11:00 AM, Monday, June 14. (As of June 15, power was restored to all customers). The public can find listings of all current power outages, including maps, numbers of customers affected and estimated time of power restoration at https://www.sce.com/outage-center.
AUTOMATIC OUTAGE NOTIFICATIONS
Starting in mid-May and continuing through June 8, SCE sent out dozens of automatic notifications about temporary maintenance power outages as part of SCE’s efforts to harden electric infrastructure against wind and wildfire, increase grid resiliency and reliability and make the grid as fire safe as possible. The work involves power pole upgrades needed for the safer, heavier, insulated wires that SCE has been installing to replace older, bare wires. SCE also sent out several rounds of test messages of its emergency notification system in advance of peak fire season.
AERIAL EQUIPMENT INSPECTIONS
Residents may have also noticed drones and helicopters flying over Malibu neighborhoods, which SCE has been using to inspect power infrastructure as part of the effort to increase fire safety. The aerial inspections started at the end of May and are expected to continuing through the end of June. SCE notified residents of the activity via social media and Nextdoor.
Heatwave and Potential for Power Outages
Southern California is preparing for an intense heatwave starting late Monday, June 14, which always brings the possibility of power outages as electricity demand spikes with so many people increasing their use of air conditioning. SCE only anticipates PSPS outages in Santa Barbara County, due to strong winds are anticipated in that area. In August 2020, amidst record breaking heat, there were rotating power outages in Southern California, including Malibu, for first time in 17 years, meant to protect the grid from heavy damage and more widespread power outages. SCE and the California Independent System Operator (CA ISO), which keeps track of power supply and demand statewide, have collaborated to ensure additional power supplies to prevent outages during anticipated heatwaves. For more information about SCE's PSPS program, visit www.MalibuCity.org/PSPS..
ARCING AND FIRE ON POWER POLE
In the early evening of Sunday, May 13, a malfunction in the connection between overhead and underground equipment at Heathercliff Road, off PCH in Point Dume resulted in arcing on the pole and a small fire. No customers lost power and the fire was quickly extinguished. The repair was completed on Monday morning, June 14.