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SCE considers power shutoffs for valley cities

Southern California Edison is warning people about potential power shutoffs because of critical fire weather.

More than 1,800 customers in Riverside County lost power Wednesday, according to SCE, including parts of Banning, Morongo Valley and Mountain Center.

Meantime, parts of Desert Hot Springs, North Palm Springs and areas near the San Gorgonio Pass are still under consideration.

Governor Newsom spoke out on the issue, scathingly critical of utility companies.

“Potentially putting the lives of millions of Californians at risk because they can’t access critical care or even water in some cases is unacceptable,” Newsom said at a press conference Wednesday.

Some people in the areas being considered were against the inconvenience of losing electricity, while others said a wildfire just isn’t worth the risk.

“I think they have to turn it off for now if that’s what they have to do to save these homes and these forests,” said Diane Cline. “We can’t keep having these wildfires.”

But not everyone affected is as supportive. Hayes Robbins is on a tight social security budget. If the power goes out, he’s worried his food will go bad.

“If I lose everything in my freezer and my refrigerator that would be a lot of money to me,” Robbins said.

That’s a concern for Richard Pole too. “All my meat’s gonna go bad,” he said. “I don’t think anybody has a generator that’s gonna last for that long.”

Some say this is the new normal. “It sucks, but get used to it,” said Juan Ramirez. “You’re saving lives at the same time, seriously.”

But others call on power companies to take more responsibility.

“Why put us in that kind of danger, where all they have to do is just turn off the thing and say, ‘Yay, we’ve done a good job,'” Robbins said. “No, let’s get out there and check these lines and make sure they’re right up to snuff.”

There is no word yet on when the threat of the power shutoffs could end, but SCE says it continues to monitor the fire conditions as they improve toward the weekend.”

You can reach Jake on Twitter, Facebook or email him at jake.ingrassia@kesq.com.

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