While thousands of families in Southern California prepared to celebrate Thanksgiving, they received a rude shock when power was cut off from their households in what was a precaution against the wildfires raging across the state. About 8,000 Southern California Edison customers were without power on the evening of Thanksgiving.
Due to the powerful winds approaching the region, Southern California Edison (SCE) cut off power in a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
The National Weather Center said that winds gusts traveling at 40-65 miles per hour were forecast. The wind also contained low humidity, which created the possibility of the debris erupting in wildfires when they came in contact with electrical cables and other power utilities.
Prior to the current shut off, over 100,000 households supplied by Southern California Edison were warned of a possible power cut during the holiday period. The company had tweeted that it was trying its best to reduce the impact the shut off could cause to its customers, CNN reports.
The SCE depends on weather forecasts and other meteorological tools at its disposal to decide when it was necessary to shut down power when the weather was hostile. It hinges its decision on the possibility that debris could be caught by power lines, increasing the chances of fire. Power is immediately restored when the threat has been removed.
Most households in San Bernardino, Orange, Kern, and Los Angeles had received the Public Safety Power Shutoff warning and were affected. However, almost all homes in Ventura County have been cut off from power. The power shutdown started at 9:30 pm in Ventura County, where about 3,015 customers were without power. In Orange County, 2,679 customers were also without power, while about 1,200 residences were out of service in Los Angeles and Bernardino counties.
Weather experts had warned of possible Santa Ana winds that would crisscross parts of San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica Mountains. The SCE apologized to its customers that the shutdown was happening at a time when many people were at home as part of precautions against the coronavirus pandemic and also celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday
The company had come under backlash recently when it admitted that the Bobcat fire, which destroyed thousands of homes, was started after branches of trees impacted its equipment. The company also agreed to pay $360 in settlements for the 2018 Woolsey Fire that claimed the lives of three people.