Nearly 200,000 customers in Southern California may be without electricity during the Thanksgiving holiday as two utility companies consider cutting power due to fire danger.
About 151,000 Southern California Edison customers could lose power in Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties.
In addition, about 43,000 San Diego Gas & Electric customers may lose power in the mountains of San Diego County and Orange County’s inland areas.
From Los Angeles to San Diego, there are red flag warnings for severe fire danger while Santa Ana winds are forecast to gust to 70 miles per hour and relative humidity is in the single digits.
According to the National Weather Service, the warnings will last from Wednesday to Friday.
A Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) is often used by utility companies in the fire-prone West to reduce the risk that a fire will start from energized power lines.
Gas & Electric warned customers not to rely on electric service during the holiday season if there is a PSPS.
“We recognize that PSPS events create hardships for our customers and communities, especially with so many people working and learning from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads a statement from Southern California Edison.
“We have heard a clear message from our customers, regulators, government officials, and public safety partners that the company must do more to reduce the need for PSPS.”
A decade-long megadrought and a drying climate caused by climate change have made California a tinderbox for wildfires.