CAMPO, Calif. — With an excessive heat warning in place, folks in the East County are wondering why SDG&E cut off their power on Friday.
They were stocking up on ice at the Lake Morena Country Market Friday afternoon because of the heat. People living nearby needed the ice because the power was out and it was hot.
“Well, right now my thermometer says it's 104 out here,” said Lake Morena Village resident George Seinitz.
He said he only found about SDG&E’s planned power outage a few hours before it hit, on one of the hottest days of the year.
“I didn't get the mailed notice at all. It never came. I got a text message last night telling me it was going to be off at 8 o'clock this morning,” said Seinitz. “I thought that was a little bit late to be notifying people.”
Some folks in the area are lucky enough to have backup generators like the one keeping the Lake Morena market open for business.
The power is on and off in the area on a regular basis, according to resident Sherry Pederson.
“At least we're blessed with generators. So, we’ve got fans going and the TV going, but besides that, the AC's out and the temperature's going up in the house,” Pederson said.
SDG&E told News 8 it sends out notices in the mail of planned power outages a week in advance. The utility also has an online map where residents can see the dates of planned equipment upgrades that result in planned power outages.
SDG&E emailed News 8 the following statement:
Planned outages for maintenance and system improvements
Due to the extreme heat forecasted today and over the weekend, all planned outages that are not critical to the safety and reliability of our system have been canceled. For the safety of the public and the electric system, any work that needs immediate repairs or replacement will continue. In order to safely perform system critical work, it is necessary to interrupt some customers electric service.
Our objective is to continue to provide safe and reliable service to our communities. In an effort to keep customers informed of planned power outages and afford them the opportunity to prepare, we have communicated with affected customers in advance.
We know that outages are inconvenient, especially during the covid-19 pandemic and high heat. We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as our crews are working as safely and quickly as possible to restore electric service.
In the Campo and Lake Morena area Friday, close to two hundred homes were without power for several hours and residents said it's the air conditioning that's critical.
“There are a lot of elderly people out here, including me. I mean I'm in my late 70s and the heat can be deadly, of course,” said Seinitz.
SDG&E said Friday's planned power outage was the result of its ongoing replacement of wooden power poles with metal poles in the backcountry.
The pole-replacement is not considered an emergency project, but an SDG&E spokesperson told News 8 it is considered critical to wildfire prevention.