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SCE Crews, Emergency Teams Rise To Meet Storm’s Challenges

Despite Hilary's record rainfall, flooding and high winds, power outages are limited throughout SCE’s service area.

SCE Crews, Emergency Teams Rise To Meet Storm’s Challenges

Despite Hilary's record rainfall, flooding and high winds, power outages are limited throughout SCE’s service area.

Published 08-30-23

Submitted by Edison International

Energized by Edison 
Originally published on August 21, 2023

By Casey Wian

B-Roll: SCE crews working to restore power during Hurricane Hilary. 
B-Roll: SCE's Emergency Operations Center responds to Hurricane Hilary. 
Video: SCE President and CEO Steve Powell on CNN discussing storm response.


As Hurricane Hilary drenched Southern California Edison’s service area first as a tropical storm and then as a post-tropical cyclone, SCE field crews and emergency operations personnel responded comprehensively to keep power flowing to customers. There were scattered outages throughout SCE’s service area during the storm, peaking at about 44,000 out of SCE’s 5 million customers Sunday night.

“Our crews are busy out there working to safely restore power,” SCE President and CEO Steve Powell told CNN in a live interview early Monday morning. “The major center of the storm has gone through, and we were prepared."

Since SCE activated its Incident Management Team on Friday, crews successfully restored power to nearly 400,000 customers. Some of the outages were not storm-related. As of Monday morning, fewer than 10,000 customers systemwide were without power.

Hilary resulted in daily rainfall records in several Southland cities, causing mudslides, flooding and road closures.

“We have in-house meteorologists who have tracked the storm for the last five days. They help make sure we know where the biggest impacts are going to be,” Powell said. “We can pre-position crews to be very responsive and ensure equipment is ready.”

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SCE crews in Torrance safely conducting repairs to damaged poles and equipment after Hilary slams Southern California. PHOTO CREDIT: KELLY BECK

In some areas, SCE doubled the number of crews available to respond to storm-related power outages. The company has been in continual contact with other utilities, county emergency departments, first responders and local officials throughout the Southland.

On Catalina Island, initial weather forecasts indicated potential sea swells of 12 to 18 feet. SCE warned all residents on the island, including critical care and Medical Baseline customers, of a possible power shutoff, and some evacuated the island as a precaution. As of Monday morning, no power shutoff was necessary.

If the storm wasn’t enough, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake centered out of Ojai occurred Sunday afternoon. There have been no reports of damage to any SCE systems or infrastructure nor reports of injuries.

California's Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s electric grid, reported having sufficient resources to supply the grid with power throughout the storm.

“We invest in our grid so that it will be reliable, resilient and ready for whatever’s coming,” Powell said. “We are trying to protect our customers and ensure they stay safe.”

SCE expressed gratitude to its customers for their efforts to prepare for Hilary’s arrival and for the patience of those who lost power during the storm.

For more information on potential outages in your area, visit SCE’s outage center.

Storm Power Outage Safety Tips:

  • Watch for Downed Wires: Severe weather can cause power lines to fall. They can electrify puddles, wet grass and the surrounding area. Stay at least 100 feet away from a downed wire or anyone or anything in contact with it. Stay away and call 911 immediately. A downed wire doesn’t always spark or hum. Always assume a downed wire is energized. Coming into contact with electrical wires can cause serious injury or even death.
  • Watch Traffic Signals: If it’s necessary to drive, watch for traffic signals that may be out and approach those intersections as four-way stops. Remember that if your windshield wipers are on, your headlights should also be on.
  • Safe Cooking and Heating: Do not use any equipment inside designed for outdoor heating or cooking. Such equipment can emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.
  • Generator Safety: If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances into it using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.
  • Food Safety: Leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep food as fresh as possible. Place blocks of ice inside to help keep food cold. Check food carefully for signs of spoilage.
  • Secure Trash and Debris: Make sure to secure trash and other items that have the potential of blowing or floating away.
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Incident Management Teams coordinated SCE's response to the storm at the company's Emergency Operations Center. PHOTO CREDIT: ERNESTO SANCHEZ


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Rainfall gathers at SCE's San Bernardino substation during the tropical storm. PHOTO CREDIT: SANDRA POLICHETTI


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Transformers leaving SCE's Irwindale Distribution Center in advance of Hurricane Hilary's anticipated arrival. PHOTO CREDIT: AARON DOYLE


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Storm preparations at SCE facilities on Catalina Island in advance of Hurricane Hilary's arrival. PHOTO CREDIT: RON HITE


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SCE Weather Services meteorologist Harrison Prieto tracking Hurricane Hilary's path at the company's Emergency Operations Center. PHOTO CREDIT: CULLEN ARMET


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Generators deployed to the field to restore power to SCE customers facing outages. PHOTO CREDIT: KELLY BECK


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An SCE crew working in Whittier to replace an underground wire that caused an outage during the tropical storm. PHOTO CREDIT: ERNESTO SANCHEZ


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Edison International

Edison International

Edison International (NYSE:EIX), through its subsidiaries, is a generator and distributor of electric power and an investor in energy services and technologies, including renewable energy. Headquartered in Rosemead, Calif., Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities.

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