Valley News -

By Diane Sieker
Writer 

AEC holds emergency meeting to address power outages due to Cranston fire

Residents could be without power for up to 2 weeks

 

Last updated 7/28/2018 at 10:36am

Diane Sieker

AEC General Manager Kevin Short revealed the Cooperative's plan to handle the 1 to 2 week power outage caused by fire damage to So Cal Edison's transmission lines coming up the mountain at the emergency meeting held by the AEC Thursday, July 26.

The Anza Community Hall was packed beyond capacity and out the door on the sweltering evening of Thursday, July 26, for a meeting called by the Anza Electric Cooperative. The purpose of the meeting was to bring members of AEC up to speed on the emergency situation regarding the Cranston Fire and the effects to the electrical grid in the valley.

The meeting was almost delayed due to AEC technicians switching out one generator for a more powerful on to run the fans, lights and air conditioning at the Hall.

The assembly began with an update on the fires given by Dorian Sabenorio, Fire Apparatus Engineer with Cal-Fire, assigned to Station 29 in Anza.

Sabenorio answered several questions by people in the audience.

Kevin Short, general manager of the AEC, took the stage and revealed that there was indeed fire damage to the transmission lines that bring power to the Cooperative's electrical grid, effectively shutting down power to all communities serviced by the AEC.

Two miles of Southern California Edison transmission lines were burned by the Cranston Fire. According to Short, it will take an undetermined amount of time to rebuild the structures before power can be restored to the entire area. In the meantime, residents are without power.

The situation will remain the same for at least a week, possibly two weeks.

Through an ingenious plan to work with the resources at hand, the AEC will rotate power among service areas for approximately one hour, two or three times a day.

Four enormous semi-truck trailer-sized generators were deployed and running by midday Friday, July 27, which had the AEC grid working between 1/2 and 2/3 capacity.

No repairs could be made at the time of the meeting as the fire was still active in the area and SCE crews had tried but forced to evacuate twice already.

When the energizing rotation begins, customers are asked to refrain from running their AC units, as this will put a heavy load on the generators. The Cooperative asked that all units be turned off until the power lines are repaired.

"My impression is that the co-op is doing all they can, and not sleeping much, trying to get us as much help as possible as quickly as they can," said Anza resident Jill Holt. "The co-op didn't cause any of this, but here they are."

Diane Sieker

Dorian Sabenorio, Fire Apparatus Engineer with Cal-Fire and stationed at Station 29 in Anza, gave a fire update at the emergency meeting held by the AEC Thursday, July 26.

The AEC office will remain staffed 24 hours a day until normal power is restored, offering news, tips, water and coffee.

ConnectAnza service is still available. The routers have backup batteries and home generators can be used to charge them.

"Thank you for your patience as we all work through this most unfortunate incident," the AEC Facebook page said.

Another town hall meeting will be held next week.

All updates will be posted on the AEC's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Anzaelectric/, on their website at http://www.anzaelectric.org/ and on their text alert service.

More information on the fires can be found at the CalFire or US National Forest websites: http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents and https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6032/.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at [email protected]

 

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