At the direction of the California Public Utilities Commission, Southern California Edison (SCE) conducted a Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) event last week in Mountain Center, causing residents to be without power for multiple days.
According to SCE’s website — when there are potentially dangerous weather conditions in fire-prone areas — they may call a PSPS event. They will proactively turn off power in high fire risk areas to reduce the threat of wildfires. While some residents understand the need for this preventative measure, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with some inconvenience.
The Town Crier spoke with a few Mountain Center residents about whether they feel PSPS events are a hindrance or a good safety practice.
“Nope it isn’t worth it,” said Sarah Grace. “I have lived here since 1985 and there’s been high winds. Power was never cut for wind. I lost all my refrigerated food within hours of the first outage.”
“It was very stressful and definitely a hindrance,” said Claudia Posey. “Over 80% of the property surrounding us has already been burnt, so we didn’t feel it was worthy of the outage.”
While Katie White understands the reasons behind the PSPS events, she also explained her frustrations. “It sucks because I totally understand for safety, but not being prepared enough like having a generator or wood stove makes it difficult. When it was out for three days, I lost my food and had no heat. It happened with no warning. What does this mean for winter?”
In addition to the power shut off, many residents lost their access to water. Posey told the Town Crier, “Because we are on a well, when the power was out, so was our water. This left a family of five with no water, no power, no way to cook (other than stovetop) and no heat. Most of those days we boiled bottled water in a teapot and washed from a bowl.”
SCE notifies potentially affected residents 48 hours before a possible PSPS event will take place, but also advises that erratic or sudden onset of conditions may impact their ability to provide advanced notice to customers. With this, preparation is key considering this seems to be the new normal throughout California.
To prepare for future outages Grace said, “I am going to be purchasing a generator in the near future.”
You can create an outage kit to help ease the frustration during PSPS events. Some items should include a first aid kit, bottled water, flashlights, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, coolers or ice chests, a battery-operated radio, new batteries, an external rechargeable battery pack and a non-cordless phone to plug in during power outages. For a full list and more ways to prepare for the next PSPS event, visit www.sce.com.