SCE Malibu Expert Unable To Provide Answers To Mayor: Why Does Rebuilt Power Grid Fail More Times And Longer Than Ever?

Written by on June 28, 2022

Southern California Edison trotted out a media representative out to Malibu last night … to deliver a public relations show about making the overhead power grid safer.

There was an 18 minute slideshow.  And … nothing new or useful was said about the fact that Edison has spent millions hardening the Malibu power pole system … with not much to show for it.

Electric blackouts have increased dramatically both in number and in length.

Andrew Thomas … the new Edison representative for Malibu … said he was only vaguely familiar with the most-recent circuit reliability statistics for Malibu … a state-required report that SCE filed last April.

Mayor Paul Grisanti tried to get an explanation …. based on statistics uncovered by KBUU News.

NEWSCART 73451 SCE RELIABILITY 1111 on July the sixth

GRISANTI: “Since the Woolsey fire, the number of average minutes of sustained interruptions has gone up almost five-fold. I am perplexed by that … since basically we got a whole new bunch of circuits out here. So that’s one thing.

“And the total number of outages has gone up about 40% in the last three years. Also perplexing to me.

“And we get three times the frequency of sustained power outages than the systemwide average.

“Why does service here to the residents look like it’s getting worse and not better???”

SCE REPRESENTATIVE: “Yeah, the idea of the sheet that you’re showing… and I kind of vaguely saw it… but do know that those updates will be in the Reliability Report … as the person who gave it to you referenced that. 

“That is the report that be shared more in detail on July Sixth.”

Andrew Thomas … the SCE field rep … said the issue would be explained at a meeting with city officials on July Sixth.

That meeting … however … will not be open to the public.

The Edison field representative later blamed palm fronds and other vegetation for all those PSPS incidents … those intentional power outages implemented on an increasing basis by Edison. 

But Edison has spent millions replacing bare wire power lines with insulation-covered lines … that are supposed to be more impervious to those types of power line fires. 

The Edison spokesman said 29 hundred miles of covered wires have been installed. 

But that is system-wide … Edison has 126 thousand miles of overhead power lines … and they will not say how many miles of insulated wires have been installed in the Malibu area.

We think the answer is zero.  We have not seen any underground power lines installed in or near Malibu in years.

SCE’s Andrew Thomas also said the power company is learning other new things.


“We are learning about new devices so that if a wire does hit the ground a protective device can do auto shut off. 

“We are doing undergrounding … that you are all familiar with … and also microgrids. 

“We are testing one at San Jacinto High School… to learn from that experience and then expand that experience to other places that can benefit.”

Let’s unpack that … ask the questions that were not asked last night.

First … San Jacinto High School is 120 miles away from Malibu.   And we pulled the SCE Reliability Report for San Jacinto … and compared it to the SCE Reliability Report for Malibu.

The average SCE customer anywhere in its service area got 180 minutes, cumulatively, of power outages last year.  In San Jacinto … they got less than that … 148 minutes a year.

In Malibu … we were blacked out an average of 2,456 minutes last year.  That’s 14 times worse than the SCE system average.  And that Malibu power outage average is 17 times the amount of power outages in San Jacinto … where SCE decided to test its microgrid.

SCE is not testing a minigrid in a place beset by blackouts like Malibu … which has a more difficult service terrain and far more power outages.

Microgrids are the ability to generate solar power and store it locally … in batteries.

And they are being used by other electric companies all over the country.  Hardly a new concept.  San Diego Gas and Electric has just converted an entire small city into a microgrid … to reduce once-frequent power outages.

Edison at one time had ambitious plans for microgrids … but cancelled them for some undisclosed reason.

Why is Malibu not being provided with battery power into a truly hardened … rebuilt overhead power grid … to reduce the 40 hours per year of power blackouts that Malibu gets from Edison???

Smart devices that sense wayward tree branches and turn off power lines??? Those have been around for years.  P G and E is installing thousands in Northern California.  How many have been installed in Malibu … on the Cuthbert Circuit???

We’re doing undergrounding … the Edison spokesman just said.

Where?  Any undergrounding in Malibu?  Near Malibu??

So many questions … and so few answers. 

If those questions sound familiar … yes … KBUU News asked there Malibu mayor if he would pose them to Edison.   We sent them to Edison’s official news last Friday … and have yet to get any explanations.

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