Americans in 49 states have extra reason to be thankful this year: They aren’t citizens of California.

As many as 76,000 Southern California customers could spend Thanksgiving without power due to elevated wildfire risk.

Communities from Hemet to Ventura may lose power as part of Edison’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program, intended to keep electrical systems from becoming a source of wildfire ignition, as forecasts call for gusty Santa Ana winds and dry conditions across the Southland.

The National Weather Service said the powerful wind event is expected to begin Thursday and last through Friday evening.

Winds of up to 65 mph could pummel parts of the San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Clarita Valley, San Gabriel Mountains and Malibu, according to meteorologist Ryan Kittell of the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

In part, the move is in response to Southern California Edison’s decision to stick to plans earlier this year, related to wind-speed determinations as to when to shut-off power.

Last month, SCE faced criticism for not immediately enforcing preemptive shutoffs that could have prevented a wildfire that threatened residents as Santa Anas pummeled the Irvine area. Utility officials defended the decision, saying wind speeds in the region did not initially reach the threshold to cut electricity.

Edison later shut off power for about 1,900 customers.

However, depending on the severity of the Santa Ana, millions of Thanksgiving means could be a bit cold this year.

SCE has 5 million customers in the region. Here’s how many could be affected by county if the power is shut off:

  • Los Angeles County: 13,111 customers.
  • Riverside County: 4,422 customers.
  • San Bernardino County: 42,147 customers.
  • Ventura County: 12,380 customers.
  • Kern County: 1,570 customers.

As I have noted before, California’s Santa Ana winds are not new, nor the wet-dry cycles of our climate. The root causes of include green justice policies forbidding the clearing of dry, dead overgrowth and forcing electrical companies to prioritize and fund green projects instead of maintenance and safety enhancements.

Many Californians are now wise to the climate-blame, and are directing the ire at Sacramento.

Hopefully, my power will remain on. It is the first year I will be preparing the main course for our family’s Thankgiving meal. Of course, the way 2020 is going, I am probably doomed.


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