Time to speak up about power losses

On Jan. 25, the power in many of our homes shut off completely again. According to my records, this is the 18th time in two years. The Sunday before, there were two power outages lasting a few minutes. I was angry and disappointed. It is obvious that if power goes out, essentially everything that requires electricity, including gas pumps, banking, purchasing of food and other trading, stops.

I wrote to Mayor David Spence. I complained about the last two years, which have been fraught with these many unexpected and unplanned outages. I understand our city has in place an alert system for some emergencies. But the system does not have any way of giving updates on outage alerts. If a major earthquake hits and power shuts down, this is a threat to all of us. Something must be done.

The mayor wrote me back immediately, saying he had talked to Ted Craver, the chief executive of Edison, twice since the wind storms and had a face-to-face discussion about service to La Cañada Flintridge residents last week. And he and other city officials have been contacting leaders, including state Sen. Carol Liu. Liu’s husband, Michael Peevey, chair of the California Public Utilities Commission; he has been asked to resolve the serious outage problems in our city.

One of the major problems is that there is a major need to upgrade the Flintridge substation from 4 kilovolts to 16 kilovolts. With all of these outages, I feel outraged as to why this has not been done already. We have been inconvenienced so many times and we still do not have the right kilovolts for everyone. Why is that?

Everything in our homes goes crazy when we constantly have to reset clocks, turn on computers, etc. On Jan. 25 it wasn't raining or windy, the power just stopped. My husband heard a transformer pop. Only because of cell phones were we able to get to the sheriff's department to gain information. People with land lines only are out of luck. Edison was not easily available for contact or information.

My concern is that many older people live in these large homes around Descanso Gardens. When the power is out and night comes, it is especially dangerous to our elderly population or the infirm, as people are more prone to fall in the darkness, as they cannot see what is in front of them. Darkness creates fear. People with electric stoves and ovens cannot cook. There is no heat. Many people who have security systems cannot be assured of their reliance, as they work for only so many hours on battery back-up. Garage doors cannot be opened easily when the power goes out. People who live alone, and there are many, are at risk for injury. Outside lighting doesn't work, which puts all people at risk.

Something must be done about this immediately. We all pay our taxes, and certainly our Edison bills, which are not cheap; but we have lousy service, and service interruptions galore. All of us who are affected need to speak up. Silence doesn't help us.

Diane R. Isaacs, Ph.D

La Cañada Flintridge

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