Edison explains rash of area power outages

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA Rainstorms, gusting winds and land developers accidentally hitting equipment lines are among the reasons for recent power outages in southwestern Riverside County, power company officials said.

"We had a record amount of rain in January, and we've had problems with developers accidentally digging up underground equipment," Southern California Edison spokesman Bob Lopez said.

Some residents in the Wildomar area said there have been four outages this year, which have each lasted from about two to four hours.

Lopez's explanation is very different from what an Edison customer service representative told Wildomar resident Pete Dangleis when his power went out recently.

"He said the power was being borrowed from here to supply another area," the 63-year-old said. "If they are having trouble supplying us now, what happens in the summer when everyone is running air conditioning?" Lopez said that is not the case.

"We are not taking power from one city and sending it to another," Lopez said. "We are not shifting loads to take energy to service another area."

He said the utility has a practice of shifting loads from one circuit to another when there is tremendous demand on a circuit.

"That practice does not impact service," Lopez said.

Lopez and Edison spokesman Tom Boyd said their service records from 2004 show a vast improvement over 2003 in southwest Riverside County.

In January 2004, there were 46 service interruptions, which vary from lights flickering to an hours-long power outage, Boyd and Lopez said. In January 2003, there were 137.

"I do believe we've improved service," Lopez said. "I do understand, though, nobody likes to have their service interrupted."

Riverside Press-Enterprise

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