First Coastal Power Blackout Of Year Slapped On Santa Barbara County

Written by on September 9, 2019

Electric power to the strip of coast west of Santa Barbara was turned off by Southern California Edison over the weekend.

At least 700 houses … potentially many more … were intentionally blacked out from Saturday night into Sunday.

It was the first intentional blackout of the year locally … what the power company calls a PS PS.

That stands for Public Safety Power Shutoff.

What it really is … is a way for the Edison company to avoid its state law required commitment to provide safe and reliable power.

Power companies have been given broad discretionary power now … to decide when it is too risky to deliver electricity on a system that used to be required to be reliable … 24/7.

Despite the fact that only 1 in 20 wildfires in California is caused by power lines … Southern California Edison has been given permission to black out areas when the power company determines there to be a high wind risk for electric lines to fail.

What determines the threshold for black outs?

That’s for the power company to decide …. and they have decided not to tell the public.

West of Santa Barbara this weekend … any water pumps or cell phone towers in that area were left without electricity during a night of strong winds.

The Edison company did not send out generators.

They did send out a truck … with bottled water … snack chips and cell phone chargers.

PS PS will be implemented in Malibu this fall … just how many times we might expect it in a typical year … Southern California Edison company will not say.


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