Rosemead, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2018) — Southern California Edison today provided an update on the restoration efforts resulting from the Woolsey and Hill wildfires. The company’s top priority continues to be the safety of customers, first responders, employees and communities. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those across the state affected by the wildfires. The company’s Emergency Operations Center continues to deploy resources and crews to assist first responders and has been restoring power in communities affected by the wildfires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties where fire officials say it is safe to do so.
The Woolsey and Hill fires impacted a total of 45,470 customers. To date, SCE has restored power to 39,094 of those customers, or 86 percent. As of 3 p.m. today, there are still 6,376 customers without power. SCE has replaced 249 of the 775 power poles and other electrical equipment that were destroyed or damaged in the Woolsey and Hill fires and crews have installed almost 19 miles of wire.
SCE is supporting customers who have been impacted by the Woolsey and Hill fires to help ease some of the strains during these difficult times. This includes offering customers expedited support in turning service on and off, waiving the charges associated with relocating and starting new service and extended bill payments. Dedicated SCE representatives are ready to assist customers and are available at 1-800-250-7339, Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. In addition, SCE will be available at county local assistance centers.
In addition, the company is donating $100,000 to the Disaster Relief Fund established by United Way of Greater Los Angeles and providing up to $100,000 in matching grants for employee donations to the Ventura County Community Foundation, the Salvation Army and the Humane Society of Ventura County.
CAL FIRE and the Ventura County Fire Department are investigating the causes of the Woolsey and Hill fires. The investigation of the Woolsey fire includes an area where SCE’s facilities are located and the possible role of its facilities. The area is currently under CAL FIRE’s control and SCE has had limited access to that area, primarily to support CAL FIRE’s activities. SCE continues to cooperate with the investigations which may take a considerable amount of time to complete.
Comprehensive Policies Needed to Address the Growing Threat of Wildfires
With the increasingly serious, ever-growing wildfire threat to California, it is unmistakably clear that further work needs to be done to develop thoughtful, comprehensive policies to address this statewide problem. SCE strongly supports the increased funding for fire suppression and improved forest and land use management policies included in SB 901 (Dodd, D-Napa). SCE will continue to invest in hardening its infrastructure and implementing industry-leading safety practices, as demonstrated by SCE’s recent Grid Safety and Resiliency Program (GS&RP) filing at the California Public Utilities Commission, and as will be further laid out in SCE’s wildfire mitigation plan required by SB 901.
While the state legislature has taken an important initial step to mitigate wildfire risks through the passage of SB 901, much more work is needed to address the critical issues of fire prevention, suppression efforts and liability allocation. SCE believes the state can do more, including enacting fire-smart building codes, particularly in high fire risk areas, and ensuring the proper allocation of legal responsibility — including SCE’s where appropriate — for the often-tragic consequences of wildfires.
The new Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery established under SB 901 provides an opportunity for a thoughtful, in-depth examination of how state policy allocates liability and compensates for fire damage. Without continued focus, the wildfire threat will only become more acute as our climate continues to change.
Source: Edison International