The Thomas wildfire in Ventura County, California has interrupted the transmission lines for the Santa Barbara area, leaving more than 85,000 customers without electric power. The Santa Barbara area transmission emergency is not affecting other parts of SCE's transmission system. As soon as the area is safe for restoration, SCE crews will assess the damage and redirect power to affected customers. However, given the unpredictability of the fire, SCE is asking customers currently without electricity to prepare for the possibility of an extended power outage. The utility is coordinating its emergency efforts with state, county and local officials. Medical Baseline, Critical Care and Essential Use customers have been alerted. SCE reminds customers experiencing a service interruption in the Santa Barbara area that they do not need to call SCE to report a power outage. SCE will provide the latest information on the restoration of electrical service in the Santa Barbara area on its website and via Twitter and Facebook. Customers may also download the SCE outages app on their smartphones. SCE is requesting customers without power to turn off the lights in any unoccupied rooms, except for a single lightbulb, which will be the signal that power has been restored. Turning off appliances helps ensure against overloading, which could delay the restoration of service. When service is restored, SCE is requesting residential and commercial customers to significantly reduce power consumption in order to provide maximum coverage to the entire Santa Barbara area. During this emergency, SCE reminds its customers of the following safety tips:
- Use extreme caution when driving, especially at intersections where traffic signals may not be working. Approach those intersections as four-way stops.
- Do not use candles for lighting since they pose a significant fire hazard. Use flashlights instead.
- If you see a downed line or dangling wire — even if it appears not to be live — don't touch or approach it and call 911 immediately.
- Do not use outdoor cooking equipment indoors. Such equipment can emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.
- If you use a generator, place it outdoors and do not connect it to your household circuits. That creates "backfeed," which is dangerous to repair crews. Instead, plug individual appliances directly into the generator using a heavy-duty extension cord.