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Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

California Public Power Utilities Respond to Power Outages in Wake of Tropical Storm

Public power utilities in California are responding to power outages caused by Hurricane Hilary, which hit Southern California as a tropical storm on Aug. 20.

The California ISO on Aug. 20 said that it was closely following Hilary and any potential grid impacts. “At this time, the grid remains stable and forecasted supply is expected to cover demand,” it said.

Imperial Irrigation District on Aug. 18 said that it had taken proactive steps to ensure it had all necessary personnel and equipment needed to respond to any service interruptions to its energy and water delivery services due to Hilary.

“Furthermore, IID’s water department crews have been working around the clock to alleviate possible flooding by clearing out various washes and drains, as well as lowering water levels in ponds and canals, in its water service area,” it said.

Over the weekend, the public power utility reported making significant progress in power restoration efforts for customers affected by Hilary.

On Aug. 21, IID said that with the bulk of the storm hitting the region on Sunday, the district’s Customer Service Call Center fielded close to 4,200 calls that day alone. Throughout the storm, upwards of 11,400 customers were, at one point, temporarily without power. As of Monday afternoon, all but approximately 85 have had their service restored.

“The reach of the storm was quite extensive,” said IID Energy Manager Jamie Asbury. “Nearly every corner of our service area was impacted.”

Although high winds and rain led to major outages on Sunday, the storm’s initial impact occurred late Friday, Aug. 18, when 45 poles on a major transmission line went down. IID was quickly able to restore power to all but 39 of some 3,000 customers; full restoration and rebuilding of those lines is not expected for several days. IID and contracted crews are also working in the Imperial Valley where multiple transmission lines went down.

In water matters, the district lowered all main canals and individual laterals in anticipation of runoff water from the storm. While several washouts were reported along the west bank of the Westside Main Canal and a 24-inch drain pipe collapsed, the district anticipates having the repairs completed by Tuesday.

IID worked ahead of the storm to prepare, fully staffing its Energy and Water Departments, Customer Call Center and Communications Section to be alert for any impacts, providing updates as they become available. Employees worked around the clock at both the Emergency Operation Centers in Imperial and Riverside Counties.

The Los Angeles Department of Water of Power on Aug. 18 said in a tweet that it was tracking the storm closely and that its crews were “prepared and ready to respond to any power outages that may occur.”

Prior to the arrival of Hilary, Glendale Water and Power noted on its webpage that a Tropical Storm Watch had been issued for most of Southern California. “It is expected we will have heavy rains and strong winds that could likely cause power outages,” the utility said.

According to Poweroutage.us, these public power utilities had the following number of customers still without power as of the morning of Aug. 21:

  • LADWP: 10,304 (1,400,000 customers tracked)
  • Glendale Water and Power: 2,190 (93,887 customers tracked)
  • Imperial Irrigation District: 1,214 (150,000 customers tracked)