Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Heatwave Stokes Fear of Power Outages

That's a legitimate fear, considering that the power went out a couple of weeks ago when the mercury hit 109.

(As for wildfires, we've always had them in California, because we've always had the Santa Anas.)

At LAT, "'This is what the future looks like': Heat wave stokes fears of power outages and fires":

When a blistering heat wave struck the Southland earlier this month, the region’s electric grid was so overwhelmed that more than 100,000 customers in Los Angeles had at some point lost power. Some went days without electricity.

Now, as Southern California endures another round of scorching heat that forecasters expect will shatter daily records in some areas on Wednesday, utility officials are hoping to avoid similar chaos by staffing extra workers and imploring residents to ease up on their thermostats to give the aging power system a chance to cool down.

“It’s similar to running your car at 100 mph, nonstop,” said Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokesman Joe Ramallo, referring to those who blast their air conditioning day and night. “Eventually, you’re going to have some problems. Distribution equipment is like that — it needs a break.”

Southern California Edison, which brings power to much of the region, is also urging people to reduce their electricity use during peak hours. State officials have issued a Flex Alert, calling on the public to turn off unnecessary lights and hold off on running major appliances until late in the evening Wednesday.

Forecasters predict daytime highs will reach between 90 and 102 degrees in the coastal plains and between 98 and 108 in the valleys. Desert areas could hover around 110 degrees, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service.

Public health officials in Riverside County reported six heat-related deaths this month. Most of those who died were elderly, including a 91-year-old from Riverside who died of prolonged heat exposure in a home without cooling measures, said Jose Arballo Jr., spokesman with the Riverside University Health System.

“Plan somewhere to go if you have to go, if you lose power,” Seto said.

As temperatures spiked Monday, about 3,800 customers — most in Beverly Grove — temporarily lost power. By midday Tuesday, Ramallo said only a few dozen people were reporting problems.

While additional DWP crews will be available Wednesday to jump on any outages, the utility is also taking steps to address the grid problems in the long term, which could involve planned power outages in residential neighborhoods...