Edison preps SCV for possible outages during Friday heat wave

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Southern California Edison officials have said they have planned a handful of maintenance outages in the Santa Clarita Valley area for Friday, the same day as a projected heat wave is set to begin. 

The outages set to take place are not power safety shut-offs — or shut-offs that are used by SoCal Edison to limit the danger of a fire starting due to a mixture of issues such as weather and fire risk — but are a part of their safety maintenance plans on a handful of grids, officials said. 

“There are some outages that are scheduled tomorrow,” Taelor Bakewell, a spokeswoman for SoCal Edison, said Thursday. “It’s wildfire mitigation measure outages, it’s important work.”

SoCal Edison officials declined to give the locations for the planned outages, citing safety concerns for customers.

However, if temperatures exceed 105 degrees on Friday, Bakewell said the maintenance and corresponding outages would likely not occur. 

“The threshold for maintenance outages is 105 degrees, but if it’s an emergency outage or critical outage, it may still take place,” said Bakewell. “We always try to shift the work to a cooler part of the day or compress the outage to a shorter duration.”

On Thursday, the National Weather Service and L.A. County Health officials issued an excessive heat warning for the Santa Clarita Valley starting Friday. 

The highs for the day are projected to reach into the triple digits for four days straight, according to Mark Jackson, a meteorologist at the NWS. 

“An excessive heat watch means there’s potential heat risk for vulnerable populations,” said Jackson. “A heat risk is, once you get up to a certain temperature, you begin to have potential for heat-related illnesses without any cooling, like air conditioning.”

The county has said it is planning to host a public cooling center for the Santa Clarita Valley, with those utilizing the service being asked to follow social distancing guidelines.

The cooling center will be located at the Stevenson Ranch County LIbrary, at 25950 The Old Road. The center will be open noon to 8 p.m. from Friday through Sunday. 

In addition to the outages possibly affecting power for SCV residents, the California Independent System Operator has issued a statewide Flex Alert, asking residents to voluntarily conserve electricity from 3-10 p.m. Friday.

Officials said by residents decreasing their electricity use during the hot day, the power grid will be less stressed and therefore less likely to cause power interruptions. 

“Consumers are urged to conserve electricity, especially during the late afternoon and early evening, when the grid is most stressed due to higher demand and solar energy production falling,” read a press issued by the Independent System Operator on Thursday.

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