Sunday Update: Power Blackouts No Longer Likely Monday Night In Malibu, SC Edison Revises Preliminary Alert

Written by on October 9, 2021

REVISED 4PM SUNDAY TO REFLECT “ALL CLEAR” FOR CUTHBERT BUT EXTENDED REVISED to add other areas north of Malibu, also included in possible blackout areas..

Strong winds will blow into Malibu on Monday night, but Southern California Edison in Sunday cancelled its warnings of a possible intentional power blackout in the Point Dume and Paradise Cove area.

The power company on Friday began notifying public safety agencies of potential intentional outages for Monday night, in the period starting at 6 p.m. and ending at midnight Tuesday morning.

On Sunday afternoon, those warnings were cancelled for Malibu.  But at the same time, they were extended for part of the Calabasas area.

SCE uses its own weather team for its forecasts, and notes that its forecasts may differ from TV forecasts. And as of late Saturday, the National Weather Service forecast predicted a Santa Ana will set up. And as of Saturday morning, with predicted winds just about at the advisory level.

In the past, Edison has admitted that an SCE forecast of sustained wind gusts of 31 miles per hour – when combined with other factors, like the possibility of blowing tree branches – to trigger preemptive blackouts on the Cuthbert Circuit.

That’s the name Edison uses to identify the wires that generally run along Pacific Coast Highway, up Winding Way West and Ramirez Canyon, and the wires that serve Point Dume and Paradise Cove.

Its warning for Cuthbert customers was cancelled at 3 p.m. Sunday.

On the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains, power may yet be cut on the Plateau Circuit, which covers part of the areas along Lost Hills and Las Virgenes roads south to Piuma.

The warning was cancelled for the Horntoad Circuit. the area from Saddle Peak north along Stunt Road, Mulholland Highway and Dry Creek-Cold Canyon Road, southwest of Calabasas.

Power may also be cut to areas near Simi Valley, Woolsey Canyon, Altadena, Mt. Wilson, and other wind-prone areas.  Not included in the list are the frequent intentional blackout areas along Highway 118 in Ventura County.

Malibu is divided into seven circuits, and only Cuthbert was mentioned as a possible intentional blackout area.  In recent years, SCE has sectioned its Cuthbert Circuit into smaller chunks, and has been able to keep power on in some of them while blacking out others.

Traffic lights in the Cuthbert Circuit are at PCH at Heathercliff, Kanan-Dume, Zumirez and Paradise Cove Road. Batteries can keep some of them running after a blackout, and they are outfitted with new electrical connections that allow the city or Caltrans to set up a small gas generator to keep the signals functioning in the black.

Caltrans also spent $2.1 million in western LA to install yellow reflective squares around traffic lights, to alert motorists in the dark that the signals are there, and that they are required to stop.

Malibu is cut into seven circuits, from west to east:

– Galahad: coastal Malibu from county line east to Bonsall;

– Cuthbert: Point Dume and Paradise Cove, PCH from Heathercliff to Latigo Shores;

– Maguire: mountain areas from Mulholland Highway east to upper Latigo Canyon, including Rocky Paks and Mulholland east to Seminole Hot Springs.

– Merlin: Lower Latigo Canyon, Corral Canyon, PCH east to Malibu Jewish Synagogue, Malibu Road along beach to Malibu Lagoon (but not inland at Civic Center).

– Seaboard: Hillsides above PCH east of Malibu Jewish Synagogue, including Pepperdine, Harbor Vista, upper Serra Estates.

– Tuna: Civic Center area from Winter Canyon to Cross Creek and lower Serra Estates, PCH east to Nicholas Eatery.

– Nicholas: PCH Nicholas Eatery east to Topanga Beach/Sunset Mesa, including Rambla Pacifico, Las Flores Cyn, Saddle Peak area.

The Cuthbert Circuit is the problem child in Malibu for SCE, it has been subject of more blackout warnings and actual blackouts than any other set of lines.

SCE euphemistically calls its intentional blackouts “PSPS events” – Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

Editor’s note: as originator of news articles, KBUU Radio management does not care to host opinions.  Too often, the same people horn in and use our journalism product to promote their views.  Not my job to provide everyone a platform.  Thus, all KBUU posts are closed to public comments.   If you have a comment or question about the article, we welcome that, please send a direct message to the author. 

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