As  four wildfires continue to rage across the Southland, Southern California Edison's damage assessment teams and crews are working with first responders to see when they can safely enter the devastated areas to identify the extent of damage and begin making repairs.

As of 10 a.m. this morning, there are approximately 11,000 customers without power across  SCE's service territory. This number includes customers who have been impacted by the four active fires across the service area. These include the:
  • Thomas fire along the North Coast (8,400 customers)
  • Creek fire in Sylmar (16 customers)
  • Rye fire in Santa Clarita ( 6 customers)
  • Little Mountain fire in San Bernardino (no customers)

"We appreciate our customers' patience as we work to restore service under difficult and volatile conditions," said Paul Grigaux, incident commander and SCE vice president of Transmission, Substations and Operations. "Depending on wind and fire conditions throughout the week, these outage numbers could fluctuate dramatically."

Wind advisories and high-wind watches have been issued by the National Weather Service for most mountain areas, passes, foothills and the Inland Empire. Santa Ana winds are expected to pick up once again tonight and move in an easterly direction.

SCE has mobilized resources to the impacted areas and has additional crews and personnel on standby in case there are outages caused by the fires. Many of the scheduled maintenance outages in areas affected by the fires will be rescheduled.

SCE's priority is to restore the transmission system or reroute power from unaffected areas to impacted customers. SCE is also contacting critical care and medical baseline customers affected by the Thomas Fire.

"Power outages and intermittent service interruptions will continue for customers as the fires burn and impact our facilities," said Grigaux. "Due to the fires, the system could face additional strain and we are asking customers to  conserve energy."

Transmission lines will continue to be threatened as the fires burn along the transmission path, possibly causing additional interruptions. A local transmission emergency was declared by the California Independent System Operator due to the loss of critical transmission lines serving the Ventura and Santa Barbara area, and the system operator has requested additional generation units to support restoration of power for the impacted area.

Customers who received a recent notification of a maintenance outage can check on its status by going to Then select: "View Your Maintenance Outage Status." Customers can use the outage number from their notification to get the latest information.

Customers may report or inquire about outages at 800-611-1911 and get the latest information using the SCE outages app at Customers can also get the latest information by visiting or at and

SCE Safety Tips in Fire Areas & High-Wind Conditions:
  • Remember to check emergency supplies to be sure you have a battery-operated radio, a flashlight and fresh batteries. Do not use candles for lighting as they pose a fire hazard.
  • If you're in a vehicle with a fallen power line on it, stay in the vehicle and remain calm until help arrives. It is OK to use your cellphone to call 911. If you must leave the vehicle, remember to exit away from downed power lines and exit by jumping from the vehicle and landing with both feet together. You must not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then proceed away from the vehicle by shuffling and not picking up your feet until you are several yards away.
  • Power outages in the area may impact traffic signals, and vehicles should treat all intersections as four-way-stops. Use extreme caution.
  • Use flashlights instead of candles to avoid fire hazards in your homes and businesses.
  • Water and electricity don't mix. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Do not step in or enter any water that a downed power line may be touching.
  • If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into it, using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates "backfeed," which is dangerous to repair crews. Please consult the manufacturer's manual for operating the generator.
  • Do not use any equipment inside that is designed for outdoor heating or cooking. Such equipment can emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.

Energy Conservation Tips:

• Set thermostats to no higher than 68 degrees.

• Postpone using major appliances like dishwashers and washer/dryers.

• Minimize how often you open your refrigerator or freezer.

• Turn off unnecessary lights.

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By Caroline Aoyagi-Stom

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Copyright Business Wire 2010