NewsCovering Kern County


Public Safety Power Shutoff Town Hall held in Tehachapi

Posted at 11:42 PM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-08 18:07:15-05

TEHACHAPI, Calif. — The Public Safety Power Shutoffs of 2019 left many residents in the community without power for days, particularly residents in Tehachapi.

Friday night, in Tehachapi, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove of Bakersfield hosted a town hall to address the power shutoffs.

The Slice of Life Enrichment School auditorium was filled with residents who shared their experiences and frustrations with the senator and Southern Californian Edison.
"I don’t think it [everything] has been answered yet," said Karen Gunter, a resident. "They have to bring us some information back. They say they are going to improve, but everyone says they are going to improve, you got to prove it."

The town hall focused on what So Cal Edison plans to do moving forward, regarding the many Public Safety Power Shutoffs. Also, the company explained its procedure of what occurs before and after a power shutoff.

"We just need to make sure that the resident's voices are heard and we listen to what their issues are," said Grove. "And [that] Southern California Edison comes back with a plan to make sure what took place in 2019 never happens again."

Senator Grove arranged for several community officials to speak including The Kern County Sheriffs' office, Kern County Fire department and most importantly Southern Cal Edison.

"We are in the process of replacing high fire fuses where we have the ability to electronically control them, so they can trip quicker in fire conditions," said Robert Stiens, of So Cal Edison.

"The downside to that we could have more power outages."

So Cal Edison continued to share its plans moving forward with residents.

One of the company's plan to avoid further unannounced power shutoffs is to install 1,000 circuit miles of insulated wire by this year.

The company also apologized for their communication and notification process, which many residents shared is their biggest concern moving forward.

"Again our notification process, I want to admit it was not up to snuff with one of our incidents last year, "Stiens said. "We are working on getting much better of that on both ends."

During the Question and Answer portion, some residents shared their continued disappointment with So Cal Edison and asked for safer solutions to the power shutoffs.

So Cal Edison says that they are currently looking to find additional ways to prevent cutting off power. Especially to areas who may not be directly affected, but share a grid with areas that require a power shut off.

"We do this circuit by circuit, so rather than shutting off an entire area we will try to de-energize a few circuits and try to isolate that to a much smaller level," said the company.

In the upcoming months, So Cal plans to speak to the public again and explain that plan.