On Monday, October 15, 2018 at approximately 9:30 AM, the City was notified by Southern California Edison (SCE) that it was monitoring two power circuits in western and central Malibu to possibly implement its Public Safety Power Shutoff Program (PSPS) due to red flag warnings and high wind conditions. The two circuits supply electricity to the area approximately from Latigo Canyon to the western border of the City. All power outages that did occur were wind-related, and SCE did not implement any Public Safety Power Shutoffs in Malibu. Waterworks District 29 had power disruptions at several facilities, but were able to maintain water service to all Malibu customers with water stored in tanks, battery back-up systems, and portable generators.
By Monday morning, there were already localized power outages in areas throughout Malibu and power outages continued throughout the day in locations across the City, disabling numerous traffic signals along PCH in Malibu. City Hall lost power about 11:30 AM. By Monday night, power was restored to nearly all customers in Malibu. By Tuesday morning, all traffic signals were functioning again. The City continued to monitor the situation as Red Flag conditions and high winds continued throughout the day on Tuesday.
HOW THE CITY RESPONDED:
The City’s emergency response included sending out a targeted Disaster Notification to neighborhoods where SCE was considering shutting off electricity as well as sending out emergency, utility and weather advisories to keep the public informed and prepared throughout the incident. The City Manager partially activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at City Hall to monitor weather, fire and electricity outage conditions and to develop a contingency plan in case the event worsened.
The City’s Emergency Operations Team, which is comprised of key City staff, was in constant communication with L.A. County Sheriff’s and Fire Department, Water District 29, and SCE. The City requested additional Sheriff’s Deputies to patrol neighborhoods impacted by power outages and assist with traffic control where traffic signals were out. The Fire Department implemented augmented staffing and patrolled neighborhoods with power outages. The Public Works Department coordinated debris and fallen tree removal and continuously monitored road and traffic signal conditions.
The City Council has voiced strong concerns with SCE’s PSPS Program and the decision by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to allow it. If electricity is shut off during extremely dangerous fire conditions, it would hinder the City’s ability to effectively put out emergency communications to the public if a fire did start, prevent the public from contacting emergency services, disable traffic signals, and create other dangerous problems. The City has filed official objections to the Public Safety Power Shutoff Program with SCE and the CPUC.
SIGN UP FOR ALERTS:
All Malibu residents are urged to sign up for City emergency, traffic, utility and weather alerts at www.MalibuCity.org/News and sign up for Disaster Notifications at www.MalibuCity.org/DisasterNotifications. For more information, contact Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas at SDuenas@MalibuCity.org or call 310-456-2489, ext. 313.
For information about power outages, customers can check SCE’s website at www.sce.com/outages or call 800-611-1911. For more information about SCE’s PSPS Program, visit https://www.sce.com/wps/portal/home/safety/wildfire.