SoCal Edison to fix power problem

Residents of a La Cañada Flintridge neighborhood beneath towering Southern California Edison power lines will soon get relief from outages caused by problems below the ground.

On Aug. 6 White Deer Drive resident Wayne Kruse led a group of more than a dozen neighbors to a City Council meeting to complain about a mid-July outage that knocked out power to homes around White Deer, Haskell Street, Big Briar Way and El Vago Street, on the eastern edge of the city. Some homes were dark for 18 to 20 hours.

The residents wanted the council to push Edison to take action, and Edison has since said it will.

At an Aug. 23 meeting facilitated by City Councilman Dave Spence, Edison representatives came to the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge and told more than two dozen residents that the utility had heard their complaints and would install improvements in the neighborhood.

Marissa Castro-Salvati, an Edison spokeswoman, said the upgrades are part of an infrastructure reevaluation the utility company is doing in the area.

“We’ve already been working at it,” she said.

Edison will replace extremely corroded or damaged segments of the underground cables that service the neighborhood, and will install branch line fuses meant to contain an outage on the circuit so fewer homes are affected by a short, Castro-Salvati said. The utility also will install protective casing on the exposed parts of the power lines that are frequent targets of squirrels and birds.

She said age is the cause of most of the damage to the underground cables.

The work is in the design phase, and Edison hopes to complete the job before winter, assuming the company can work out an agreeable schedule with the city and neighborhood.

“We will need constant coordination because it’s going to be some major work we need to do in the neighborhood,” she said.

Kruse said that he was happy that Edison was listening to residents, but said that he was still worried about the age and exposure of the buried power cables.

“I think that we had a petition signed by more than 30 people — that was an eye-opener for them,” he said. “I’m pleased that they’re going to do something; whether it will solve the long-term issue up here, I don’t know… The day they would put all the power lines in plastic conduits, I would be happy.”

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