Some people living in Whitewater called our newsroom with concerns that they will have five planned power outages during the hot month of July.
Brandy Buchanan has lived in Whitewater for three years. He’s frustrated by summertime outages and what they are doing to his family. Buchanan says "And it's been hard here I have a wife who just had a heart attack three weeks ago. She's still recovering. She relies on the air conditioning and her television to keep her entertained right now. And my daughter is has a disability. She's relying on the internet for her social interactions".
I asked Southern California Edison spokesperson Ron Gales why the maintenance outages have to happen during hot months.
So, Edison, we have a 50,000 square mile territory. And that includes you know, hotter climate zones, like folks in the Coachella valley, folks in the area of whitewater. We do more than 30,000 maintenance outages a year across that territory. And that's that's that's a lot of outages.
The Buchanan family says– they’re preparing for five maintenance outages this month.
SCE says they plan many outages during milder months. And in the summertime:
Ron Gales said, "When the temperature hits 105 degrees, or maybe even when the temperature lower is lower, but the heat index is at that 105 degree threshold, we may shift the work hours to the evening to avoid outages during those peak temperatures".
Brandy Buchanan said, I" do understand most of it. But you would think that the maintenance that they have performed already with all of the power outages could account for some of the your future maintenance".
Ron Gales said, "And we're hoping by these maintenance outages to avoid something that could be even longer and more disruptive. So it is definitely an inconvenience. And for that we take responsibility".
SCE Spokesperson Ron Giles sends, Tips for staying cool during an outage:
- Don't let the sun overheat your home. Tilt your blinds up and close drapes and shades on windows that receive direct sunlight. If you're outside, make the most out of awnings, trees and shrubs for shade
- Taking a shower can help your body cool down. Let your hair air-dry to help extend the cooling period of your body and maximize the cool and clean feeling of a cold shower.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water regularly and often, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Limit your exposure to the sun if possible. If you must be outside, be sure to wear a hat, use sunscreen, and dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
- Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat and remember to take frequent breaks. Try to avoid strenuous work during the hottest part of the day.
- Never leave children or pets in enclosed vehicles, even with the windows "cracked" or open.
- Pets should not be left in a garage as it can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.
- (See attached infographic for more cooling tips)
Customers who want to submit a claim to SCE about expenses incurred due to outages should visit sce.com/claims.
Here are some tips to share with customers about actions to take during a planned outage:
- Customers on life support equipment should notify SCE so the utility is aware of their special needs in an outage. They may also be able to get a break on their electric bill through the company’s medical baseline program.
- If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using heavy-duty extension cords. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed” on the system, which is dangerous to repair crews.