You Ask. We Investigate: Why Does Southern California Edison Schedule Planned Outages During the Summer?

Carmela Karcher

Temperatures are rising and so is the strain on the power grid.

Which also means more planned power outages are coming, starting as soon as this week.

“We take outages very seriously. We don’t plan them lightly and we know they can be a real hardship,” Edison International Senior Advisor Jeff Monford explained. “There are some outages planned this week for the Palm Springs area and they are due to the need to improve, upgrade and replace equipment at a substation. That’s driven by increased demand for power from both residential and business customers.”

Those outages are highlighted in yellow which means the surrounding areas will not have power from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17.

A caller into the NBC Palm Springs newsroom says he hasn’t experienced a planned outage in his neighborhood for over 20 years.

But Southern California Edison says there’s a reason.

“There are some situations that are relatively recent in California,” Monford continued. “First of all, the increasing effects of climate change on grid equipment. That’s a factor and it leads us to have to upgrade and replace the equipment. The other thing that’s going on in this particular area is just the growth. More construction of both residences and businesses means that there’s more demand on the grid. Also, customers themselves are often using more power than they used to so there’s a confluence of factors that come together to make all of this work necessary.”

Adding why SCE workers can’t do this during the night.

“Outages are planned when crews can do the work safely,” Monford said. “That means, in many cases, they’ll be planned during the day when everyone can see the work. At the same time, we also have some plans to do work at night when we know there’ll be less traffic, but that’s a little unusual.”

And even more importantly, why these outages can’t be postponed until cooler weather.

“A planned outage is one that usually is done in a matter of a day or two and an emergency outage is when grid equipment has failed, perhaps due to heavy demand and hot weather, which  often takes considerably longer to repair resulting in longer outages,” Monford explained. “Crews work on the grid all year round in order to maintain safety and reliability.”

There are also a few upcoming planned power outages in Palm Desert and Cathedral City.

If you want to know if there is an outage coming in your neighborhood, click HERE.

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