October 4, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has notified East County Magazine’s Viejas Alerts that proactive power outages are possible due to high fire danger conditions. A Red Flag Alert is in effect today through Sunday and a high wind watch has also been issued.
Make sure you have flashlights and portable radio with batteries to stay informed during a power outage. This is also a good time to sign up to follow ViejasAlerts at www.twitter.com so you can get text message alerts on your mobile phone. If you have internet access you can also check our website for reports on fires at www.eastcountymagazine.org .
“We expect the highest winds between 4 a.m. and noon Saturday,” Stephanie Donovan, spokesperson for SDG&E, informed ECM. Gusts of 50 to 70 miles an hour are expected in some places.
The utility has made outbound calls to 5600 customers warning of possible power shut-offs in the following areas: Descanso, Mt Laguna, Viejas, Barrett Lake, East Jamul, Potrero, East Ramona, San Diego Country Estates, some portions of Santa Ysabel and North Wynola and Wynola, Japatul, Boulevard, Valley Center and Lake Wohlford. Click "read more" and scroll down for details.
“We have a procedure where we pre-stage our crews in areas where we expect wind gusts to be higher. We’re not going to look just at wind speed number; we’ll have eyes and ears in the field,” Donovan explained. “If they see debris flying all over, tin flying off the roof…in that case we are going to be as surgical as we can, we will try to do it circuit by circuit or even portions of a circuit. We really are trying to prevent the first spark.”
To date, SDG&E has not had to actually turn off power proactively, but crews are at the ready if conditions warrant one, Donovan said. She added, “We’ve done so much to harden and strengthen our poles from wood to steel, more resilient. We don’t want our lines to be an ignition source.”
If an outage does occur, either due to Mother Nature or a proactive shut-off, SDG&E crews will patrol and inspect lines before reenergizing to assure conditions are safe.
Asked about customers with medical needs, such as those with severe disabilities , oxygen or life support equipment, Donovan said SDG&E calls its medical baseline patients twice and if they cannot be reached, a visit to the home will be made and a note left on the door if there is still no answer. If you have medical needs and wish to see if you qualify to be added to the medical baseline at SDG&E, call 800 411 7343.