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L.A. power outage fixes might cause short term headaches for some

Power outage in Silver Lake

The LADWP is taking additional steps and tweaking operations in response to the lengthy power outages that hit the Eastside and other parts of the city during the weekend heat wave. But the same efforts to minimize future outages might cause some near-term traffic and service headaches for many residents.

Here is what to expect:

Detour Ahead: The agency is warning of “traffic impacts and an inconvenience to some customers” as it conducts emergency work to make permanent the temporary repairs that were made during the weekend. This emergency work will take place at times when lane and street closures are usually not allowed. “Upgrading underground utilities and equipment at local distributing stations is complex, time consuming work,” the utility said.

Outages Ahead:   In order to reduce the risk of future outages, the utility will actually have to cut power than it normally does while making repairs.  Longer “planned outages” will allow crews to upgrade equipment much more quickly. “This will require better communication with customers to help them understand that a planned outage to replace aging equipment is better than an unplanned outage that can impact a neighborhood unexpectedly for a prolonged period of time, as experienced this past weekend.”

Communication: The hiring of more dispatchers will help the agency provide the latest information about outages through its online  outage page and customer service employees.

The utility is taking these steps as it has come under considerable criticism for the outages, which left some residents without power for three days or more.  Today, for example, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell  requested that the agency  provide a comprehensive report about what went wrong and what can be done to fix the problem.

“Our customers deserve a full accounting of what led to the power outages, details of upgrades and what measures are in place to prevent widespread outages in the future, especially in the era of climate change,” O’Farrell said in a letter today to David Wright, general manager of the L.A. Department of Water and Power.

A spokeswoman for the department said that Wright will be meeting with O’Farrell and also address an upcoming meeting of the City Council’s Energy and Climate Change committee.

LADWP said record-high heat and demand taxed its system and made it more difficult to make repairs, especially in neighborhoods in its Metro division, which includes the Eastside.

The agency it has spent about $2.3 billion in recent years to make up for deferred maintenance and conduct other repairs and will spend several hundred million dollars more this year to improve power stability.

July 2018 Heat Storm Outage Event Summary 071118 by TheEastsider on Scribd

LADWP Outages Letter by TheEastsider on Scribd

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