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Kern County communities prepare for public safety power outages around the region

Power Lines
Posted at 4:58 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 21:06:14-04

Both major power companies are expecting to shut off power for some residents in Kern County who live in areas that are wildfire-prone, especially in areas with high winds and dry brush. 23ABC's Bayan Wang talked with both companies, as well as residents about what to expect.

With more than 2 million acres of California charred in a record-breaking wildfire year Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SoCal Edison) aren't taking any chances in Kern County. Both companies notified more than 7,000 residents that they are likely to be without power during the red flag warning issued in the mountain communities through Wednesday evening.

"We know that people are working from home, kids are doing online learning, so we understand how disruptive these outages can be, but we're doing it to keep you and your community safe, it's not a decision we take lightly," said Reggie Kumar, a spokesman for Southern California Edison.

"Those customers have been notified. They have received a 48-hour notification as well as a 24-hour notification and we will notify them again today," added Katie Allen, a spokeswoman for Kern County PG&E.

Residents in Caliente, Keene, Golden Hills, Bear Valley Springs, Tehachapi, and communities along the Grapevine are expected to have their power shut off as powerlines in the area may spark up if winds blow the way they are forecasted too.

"We're probably looking at gusts from about 25 up to 45 miles per hour," said Kris Mattarochia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Hanford. "We have fire conditions that can be dangerous."

Those conditions are also forecasted in Lebec where Lindsey Taylor was headed to check on her elderly parents.

"Where they live in Los Padres," said Taylor. "It's only one way in and one way out, so if there was an emergency, it would be gridlock."

Betsy Reyes also lives in Lebec. She said when they heard of the expected shutoffs they were proactive.

"We went to buy a generator, and that's why right now we have a piece of mind."

23ABC spoke to a lot of residents in Lebec who don't have generators. Lucky for them they live right next to the community resource center where they can go to charge their electronic devices, get water, food, and additional information they need about the shutoff.

According to both utility companies, these expected shutoffs are projected to run through Wednesday evening. However, if conditions persist it may be longer than that.

Check here for specific information and updates regarding the power shutoffs.

This map is the seven-day forecast, if the weather forecasts indicate gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with heightened fire risk, it may be necessary to turn off the electricity serving that area.
Here you can find a map of the current PSPS outages and the future PSPS outage areas for the state.