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November 2, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has extended today’s red flag alert through this evening as hot, gusty winds continue through much of East County.

A fire burning in Mexico is putting up smoke visible in the southeast portion of the County.

According to Deerhorn Valley Antler editor Kim Hamilton, “A resident in Lyons Valley called to say he received a taped phone message from SDG&E that power may be cut off if the wind conditions are as predicted. If there is any kind of fire event while power is out, we will be in a very dangerous and vulnerable position.”


She advises, “Wireless phones will not work (the base unit needs power). Make sure you have access to a hard-wired phone. Check the batteries in your portable radios.No power–No internet. Information will be hard to gather and share.”

SDG&E has not responded to an ECM request for information on how widespread is the potential power-shut off area or which areas may be impacted. ECM will post updates on our website at

A small fire in Valley Center this morning was halted at one acre. A four-acre fire has also been extinguished in the Rancho Santa Fe area. If you have information on additional fires, please email and also post comments on our site to help promptly inform our readers of any breaking news.

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SDG&E's Weather/Outage Page says,
"We have an obligation to protect public safety as well as the integrity of our electric system. If wind speeds exceed electric system limitations or we are unable to operate the system safety, we will turn off the power. If this is necessary, the power will be off for as long as these conditions last and will not be turned back on until it is safe."
SDG&E is playing games with our lives. Citing concerns about public safety, they intend to cut off thousands of residents during the worst fire danger conditions, leaving us without reliable phone service (already a thorny issue in our poorly-serviced backcountry), Reverse 9-11 alerts, and other life-saving information. What are they thinking? Surely the risk whole communities vulnerable to Wildfire Without Notice has a liability downside. If I cut off my neighbors' power during the middle of a fire emergency... couldn't I (shouldn't I) be charge with a crime and held liable? SDG&E exemplifies the hypocritical worst of the One-Percent: higher profits, higher rates and disregard for lives.

SDGE power shut down

Let's get to the truth here. The fire situation os no worse than it has been yearly since the Laguna fire 40 years ago folks. This red flag nonsense is same load of crap as the storm watches we now have when it rains two days in a row. The reason SDGE is shutting off power is a liability and insurance issue. They told me two years ago that the existing wooden power poles were not safe in high wind conditions. The poles have been in use for how many decades now? SDGE told me that they were replacing wooden poles with steel poles and that the work would be completed within a year. Well here is is two years later, SDGE is running all over the back country putting in the Sunrise Power Link while ignoring these "unsafe" wooden poles. Their solution is to shut off our power when the wind blows.

Todays drill had the power shut off for five hours. We are still under a red flag warning according to the USF so why did the power come back on? Todays five hour drill is probably intended to see what the public response there is going to be. A Powerlink contractor has already set fire to my property this fire season. My brush clearing efforts aided the hard working fire crews in stopping the spread. Should that same thing happen again during a power shut down my property would be without water.

The five hour shut down drill this morning cost me three hours time to get my generator set up, my water pressure restored, to reschedule my doctors appointment, two gallons of gasoline, my time to reset computers, clocks and home electronics, the effort to pen animals normally controlled with electric containment system, and my time to clean out the grit from my plumbing system that only occurs when the pressure tanks go flat.

I plan to send a demand to SDGE for reimbursement. When they refuse my demand, the gauntlet will drop. A public utility has no business interrupting power because their infrastructure is decrepit and substandard. We have no other source of electricity so it is inmmcombent upon them to get their existing equipment upgraded to state of the art befor they install new equipment..the Sunridse Power Link.