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City Council Hears Power Outages

Photo by Helen Arase.


Alhambra , CA

Southern California Edison warned Alhambra at the City Council meeting this week of more power outages in extreme heat waves unless more conservation measures are taken by consumers.

For the first time in 20 years, on the evening of Aug. 14 California’s demand for electricity surpassed the supply, and the power grid was forced into emergency rolling blackouts that included Alhambra.

Alhambra’s electricity infrastructure is supplied and maintained by Southern California Edison, which participates in the coordination of energy resources carried out by the California Independent System Operator (ISO) across most of the state’s power grids.

Jeannette Soriano, Edison’s government relations manager, gave the City Council a presentation on the statewide rolling blackouts between 6:30 and 9 p.m. on Aug. 14.

Edison does not cut power to an entire geographical area at once. Customers in that area are divided into a “rotating outage group” to break up the outages so no one area is completely blacked out. Once that group number has experienced the outage, the group is moved to the bottom of the cycle. Alhambra customers’ outage group numbers can be found in the account information section online or on the monthly billing statement.

The power grid includes other western states, including some from which California imports energy, but the heat wave earlier this month greatly increased energy consumption and overloaded available power, Soriano said. A “Stage 3 Emergency” was declared by California ISO, triggering rotating power outages to maintain grid stability.

Soriano said Alhambra may experience different kinds of power outages and alerts in the future. Edison will warn of any scheduled outages for maintenance. Critical maintenance outages, however, might be triggered without warning in unexpected circumstances such as the interruption of power lines.

She said that flex alerts are calls to consumers to conserve energy when power demand could outstrip supply, usually during a heat wave.

Soriano will return to City Council to discuss a reliability report on Alhambra’s circuits and if one district experiences more outages than others.

At its meeting, the City Council considered seeking potential state grants for improvement of city parks and protecting Alhambra’s neon “welcome” road markers from additional “Tree City USA” signage.

Alhambra was awarded certification as a “Tree City USA” member in October by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters.

City staff proposed putting signs at City Hall, the six Alhambra parks and under the neon markers. But most public comment was against posting signs on the newly restored neon “welcome” markers at the city boundaries for aesthetic reasons.

All five council members voted to direct staff to find another location to place the signs at the city’s borders.

The Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program is taking grant applications for various park and recreation improvements and projects up to $8.5 million per project. The Department of Parks and Recreation staff has identified four potential projects, but each must meet state criteria; preference is given to creation of new parks. See page 15 of 102 on the agenda to read about the locations.

Residents suggested revisiting Alhambra’s iconic Gateway Plaza Park to make it more inviting and accessible. The council agreed, asking city staff to explore that location. Council member Jeff Maloney asked staff to look into expanding the park and to take stock of other publicly owned property to see if other parks can be identified for the grant.

David Mejia was sworn in as major and Kathryn Lee as vice mayor at the meeting. City Council officers rotate every nine months, as stated in Alhambra’s municipal code and charter. The next City Council meeting is on Sept. 14.

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1 thought on “City Council Hears Power Outages”

  1. Melissa Michelson

    That’s a gorgeous picture of one of Alhambra’s restored neon signs. It was great to hear at the meeting the neon-community from all over LA and beyond come out to help protect the visual integrity of these signs.