Crews work to restore power to L.A. County residents and businesses as heat wave continues

Roughly 29,000 Los Angeles-area homes and businesses remained without power Sunday in the wake of the weekend heat wave, officials said.

Utility crews have restored power to more than 57,000 customers since the spell of unusually hot weather swept through the region Friday, said Joseph Ramallo, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

By Sunday evening, about 26,500 DWP customers were without power. Neighborhoods with outages included Silver Lake with 1,804 affected customers, Echo Park with 1,972, Leimert Park with 1,758, Mid-Wilshire with 3,692, Westlake with 2,285 and Koreatown with 2,868. In the San Fernando Valley, Panorama City and Sherman Oaks reported 1,441 and 81 customers without power, respectively.

Peak energy demand climbed past 5,700 megawatts Saturday, surpassing the department’s estimate of roughly 5,500 megawatts and marking the second-highest weekend day use recorded in Los Angeles, officials said. That was down from 6,256 megawatts Friday, which broke the previous July record of 6,165 megawatts set in 2006 and became the fifth-highest peak demand recorded in the city’s history.

Some portions of the city’s electrical system sustained major damage from the record-breaking heat, including damage in some neighborhoods to underground cables, overhead wires and transformers, Ramallo said.

Many outages will take 24 to 48 hours to fix, and some could take longer, Ramallo said, adding that there were more than 700 individual incidents in DWP’s system Saturday.

“A smaller outage can take the same number of resources as a larger outage,” Ramallo said, “which is what makes restoration slower, unfortunately.”

There are more underground circuits in neighborhoods such as Windsor Square, Hancock Park and Koreatown, he added. Although underground circuits are more reliable, during an outage they’re a little more difficult to quickly repair.

Some 2,525 Southern California Edison residential and business customers remained without power just before 8 p.m., spokeswoman Susan Cox said Sunday. That’s down from Saturday night, when about 17,000 customers were without power. The outages include 1,882 customers in Los Angeles County, 203 in Riverside County and 182in San Bernardino County.

“As the weather cools and our crews are out there working to restore power to customers in the heat, we are getting customers back up,” Cox said.

There was no set time frame for when all the outages would be repaired. “We’ve got crews and they are working through the heat … as quickly and safely as possible,” Cox said.

A heat advisory remained in effect until 9 p.m. Sunday, said meteorologist Tom Fisher of the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Temperatures have begun a very slow descent from their Friday peaks, with coastal areas seeing a more significant drop.

The high in downtown Los Angeles hit 96 degrees Sunday, while Burbank hit 97. Several areas saw triple-digit temperatures, including Woodland Hills at 104, Lancaster at 105 and Pasadena at 100.

Temperatures should continue a gradual downward trend, Fisher said. “Most areas will be a couple of degrees above normal by the end of the week,” he said.

By Friday, downtown Los Angeles is expected to dip to 84 degrees; normal temperatures for downtown usually hover around 82. Woodland Hills should fall to 92 degrees by Thursday. Highs near Los Angeles International Airport may drop to 78 on Friday, down from 92 this last Friday.

Times staff writer Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report.


UPDATES:

8:25 p.m.: This article was updated with the latest outage figures.

5:35 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information from the National Weather Service.

12:40 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information from LADWP, Southern California Edison and the National Weather Service.

This article was originally published at 10:30 a.m.

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