MDP hosts community meeting to discuss options

Do you need or have a generator when a power outage occurs again on the Hill? The question does not ask if a power outage will occur, but when. Southern California Edison has already announced that its future policies will lean toward more frequently planned public-safety power shutoffs, independent of the unexpected outages such as occurred in October.

On Sunday and Monday, SCE warned Hill residents that the Santa Ana wind event might result in a potential power shutoff.

The longer a power outage lasts, the more it evolves from an inconvenience to a potential, if not actual, emergency.

Mountain Disaster Preparedness recognizes the potential disruptions and problems that occur during an outage. While MDP cannot supply alternative power to Hill residences, it has planned a community meeting to offer ideas about the need for a generator, the questions to ask if buying one and installation cautions.

All of these questions about the pros and cons of a portable generator, or even one wired directly into a structure’s electrical system, will be discussed at a community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at Town Hall.

“We presume power outages will continue. Not only the fire precautionary outages like last December, but winter is coming. Snow, limbs and other weather-related incidents can knock out the local power,” advised MDP President Mike Feyder.

“I hope people recognize that whether they want a generator to keep the lights on and allow them to watch TV, that the equipment is different than if they want to keep the refrigerator, furnace and fans going,” he added.

Restoring the power can take longer, too. Feyder noted that SCE crews must inspect all the lines to ensure that no branches, limbs or other potential igniters are on the electric lines when power is restored.

“It’s not just five to six hours, it can be more than 24,” Feyder said. “For people with medical issues and needs, it is not just an inconvenience, it could be an emergency.”

So MDP has invited two local electricians to come and speak to the community about a broad range of issues involving the acquisition, installation and use of generators. They will discuss issues such as portable or wired-in generators, gasoline or propane fuel for them, installation, maintenance and safety of electrical cords.

“I hope the meeting will answer some of the questions people have making this decision,” Feyder stated. To ensure questions get asked, he plans to devote a majority of the time to audience questions.