California power outages increase as strong winds increase fire risk | Business and economic news

More than 200,000 customer accounts could lose service in the Los Angeles and San Diego regions, according to local utilities.

Through and Bloomberg

Southern California’s largest utility shut down power to more customers in the mountains near Los Angeles as strong winds increased the risk of wildfires, marking the second year in a row that parts of the region will spend Thanksgiving after dark.

Edison International’s Southern California utility has cut electricity to 63,835 homes and businesses in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties as of 10:36 a.m. local time to prevent power wires from catching fire like a wind storm over the drought. affected area. More than 200,000 customer accounts could lose service in the Los Angeles and San Diego regions, according to local utilities.

California power companies have begun shutting down power lines in anticipation of strong winds after a series of deadly wildfires were caused by their equipment. It’s just one of the ways drought years are reshaping life in the Golden State, home to about 40 million people. Last year, Edison in Southern California cut off electricity to more than 20,600 homes and businesses on Thanksgiving Day, as many people sought shelter at home amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Strong, dry winds in Southern California are expected to ease by Thanksgiving night, although an increased risk of dangerous fire conditions will persist through Friday, the National Weather Service said. A red flag warning — the highest warning — was posted from Santa Barbara to the border with Mexico through Friday. The US Storm Prediction Center said critical fire conditions in parts of Southern California continue Thursday morning and are expected to continue throughout the day, with high winds into the afternoon.

“You can do your part by staying informed and ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, especially if you live in canyons, mountains or hills,” said Kevin McGowan, director of Los’ Office of Emergency Management. Angeles County, in a press on Wednesday. Edition.

Edison warned that more than 156,000 homes and businesses could lose electricity, while Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric cut power to more than 5,300 customers in a dozen communities and warned of potential shutdowns potentially affecting nearly 48,000 homes and businesses. businesses. Service will be restored after the companies examine their power lines for wind damage.

Across California, 8,367 fires have charred nearly 3.1 million acres (1.3 million hectares) of state and federal land this year, burning more than 3,600 buildings and killing three people, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. . The fire hazard is compounded as the entire state is currently ravaged by drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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