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By Miriam Raftery

August 19, 2023 (San Diego’s East County)— “We’re gearing up for widespread prolonged power outages,” Alex Welling with SDG&E told ECM today. The utility company is beefing up its preparations amid a countywide tropical storm warning. But he adds,  “We really want our customers prepared.”

He confirmed that SDG&E is not planning any proactive power shutoffs outages over fire concerns,since moisture levels arehigh.  But with Hurricane Hilary  slated to bring powerful tropical storm winds and rains across San Diego County, particularly Sunday and Monday, crews won’t be able to respond promptly to every downed power line or pole.

“We can’t even put a bucket up in the air when the winds are 35 miles per hour or more, because the entire bucket truck will tip over,” he explained.

With the safety of its customers, employees and local communities as its top priority, San Diego Gas & Electric has undertaken extensive preparations to respond to Hurricane Hilary, which will begin to impact our area tonight, with the heaviest rains and high winds Sunday afternoon through Monday.

In anticipation of unprecedented severe weather conditions impacting the entire region from the coast to foothills to the deserts, SDG&E is increasing the number of field crews and pre-staging equipment to respond to potential, prolonged outages, so power can be restored as quickly and safely as possible to customers.

The company’s meteorology team is continuously monitoring weather conditions to help provide situational awareness to frontline crews working hard to protect and maintain the energy infrastructure that serves local communities. SDG&E’s emergency management team has also remained in close communications with local and state agencies, including the County’s Emergency Operations Center, to plan and coordinate.  

SDG&E will be posting news throughout the storm at .

The company is sharing the following critical safety tips to help keep everyone safe: 

  • If you see a downed power line or damaged electrical equipment, always assume it is energized, stay away, and call 9-1-1. If a person has come into contact with a power line, do not touch them. Call 9-1-1 and SDG&E at (800) 411-SDGE (7343) to report it. 
  • Secure any loose outdoor items like umbrellas, patio furniture and garbage bins to prevent them from flying away and damaging power lines. 
  • Drive safely on rain-slicked roads, as the number of cars hitting transformers or power poles increases. Be sure to slow down and allow more time for braking. 
  • Have a plan and kit with essential supplies. Keep a battery-operated radio and flashlights handy in case the power goes out. Check the batteries now to make sure the equipment works, and do not rely on candles for lighting during a power outage. Also make sure your cell phones are fully charged. 
  • In the event you do experience a power outage, customers are encouraged to visit for status updates and to view SDG&E’s outage map. 
  • If you rely on electrically operated medical equipment for your health and safety, make sure you have made backup power arrangements in case of an outage. 
  • If you see SDG&E crews working in the field, please be sure to slow down while driving to give them space to restore power as safely as possible. 
  • If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, leave the area. From a safe location, call 911 or call us at 1-800-611-7343. 


For more safety tips, please refer to SDG&E’s storm safety video here.


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