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SCE customer concerned about planned maintenance outages in triple digit temperatures

A Southern California Edison customer is concerned about her home, as well as her neighbors after the power company announced a six hour planned outage in the middle of triple digit temperatures.

"The temperatures are really high. I think we're in the high 80's in the house currently, since the air conditioning has been off," said Kelli Kelley. She lives in Yucca valley, where temperatures have gone above 100 degrees for several days in a row.

"I'm lucky though, other people in the neighborhood have swamp coolers," said Kelley. So I imagine their houses are up in the 90's, maybe close to100.”

Kelley was one of several folks who received an email from SCE on Tuesday, announcing the Wednesday outage, with a little over 24 hours to prepare. Although Kelley understands these outages hapen, she says the short notice left her scrambling, forcing her to take off work to protect her pets in the summer heat.

"I was concerned about my animals, you know," said Kelley. "I do have an African gray parrot. And I have mastiffs and stuff. Just with having the heat I have to put them in the truck and maybe drive somewhere else where it's cooler.”

She's also concerned about SCE conducting maintenance work during a heat wave.

"I just worry about the workers, and the health of people up here in the desert," said Kelley. "We have a huge elderly community, and the time timing could have been a lot better, you know, they could have looked at the temperatures and saw that we're having a massive heat wave."

Despite the outage being a relatively quicker one, Kelley, like many of her neighbors wonder whether power companies can prevent outages like these from happening, especially in dangerous heat.

That's why News Channel Three's Tori King reached out to SCE for answers.

"AT SCE, we know that every single outage is at least a hardship for customers," said Jeff Monford, a spokesperson for SCE. "Some of them are big hardships, and we recognize that. So we try to minimize outages as much as possible. Maintenance is replacing components before they are at the end of their useful life. Replacing components that we know may have a vulnerability. We have a great deal of technology monitoring grid components constantly.”

Monford says the planned outages, also they do create hardships, are absolutely necessary to prevent bigger problems that could take longer to fix down the road.

"Certainly, if we don't keep up with grid maintenance, some components that are absolutely essential to reliability could fail," said Monford. "But we do take into account factors like the temperature for a day. And the maintenance that's going on now during the summer, represents the truly essential work that cannot wait. Everything that can be postponed to cooler days it has already been postponed. So what we're doing now is what remains that's truly necessary to maintain grid reliability and resilience.”

When asked about how to best prepare for outages, whether they be planned or not, Monford says you can do things now to make it easier on yourself should the power go out.

“It's a good idea to have a go bag," said Monford. "Have your essential documents, phone charger, charger block if you have one, grab the laptop, a change of clothes, prescription medication, those kinds of things for you and members of your household. Also, have a plan of where you, you family, and your pets can go if you can't be at home for a period of time. Whether that's from an outage planned or otherwise, or any kind of other circumstance that you don't expect. So being prepared for the unexpected is a good policy.”

You can check online for SCE planned maintenance outages here.

Article Topic Follows: Local News

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Tori King


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