Family, pets without power for seven days during high winds

DESCANSO, Calif. (KGTV) -- Power is back on to families living in San Diego County's backcountry. 

Last week, SDG&E notified customers that the utility might cut power in areas prone to high wind during the Red Flag Warning.

Jennifer Miller, her husband and their two young children live in Descanso, along with 12 goats, two donkeys, three dogs and lots of chickens. 

The family's electricity came back on Monday morning after being out for roughly seven days. The area relies on well water; so no power, also meant no water. 

RELATED: San Diego Gas and Electric restores power to areas affected by red-flag warning

"Without the power, we don't have a pump to pump," said Miller. "Which means no fresh water, no hot water, no toilets, no water for the animals."

The family used what was left in their well. They spent the week filling a baby pool with water so her husband could fill five-gallon buckets with water and carry them up the hill to their home. 

"My husband has been carting it to the house and dumping it in the toilet so it doesn't get ridiculously disgusting," said Miller. 

The outage has created an unexpected financial burden for Miller and her neighbors. 

"We lost everything in our fridge cause they didn't give us warning, we got a 'we might,' said Miller, adding that many of her neighbors are on fixed incomes. "We have retired veterans that are on very limited income that have lost all their food."

The San Diego Gas and Electric company says customers can file claims to try to recoup their losses, but its website also says the company is not responsible for losses due to weather. 

Miller says the company's policy is putting people at risk.  

"It's tough, I really feel like they left us sitting up here, like sitting ducks and not even the courtesy to call or send someone out to pretend that they care," she said. "They knew we were all out that long, they were the ones that did it."

Miller feels that SDG&E needs to come up with a better way to notify people and then to check on their welfare, especially for residents who are elderly, disabled and possibly relying on medical equipment. 

"I don't  count on SDG&E to take care of us," Miller said. "But I also didn't count on somebody who is taking so much out of my paycheck to create an emergency situation up here. We are non-existent."

Miller is grateful for a community of neighbors that looks after each other. 

"We always have some kind of wind up here, I mean intermittently, so what is it 5,10,25 what is your gauge?" she said. "I mean we are terrified. Are they just going to shut us off next time the wind is too dangerous?"

SDG&E released the following statement Monday evening:

“SDG&E has completely restored power to all customers who were de-energized due to public safety concerns during the Red Flag Warning.

After crews inspected power lines all day in coordination with contract firefighters who were on hand to ensure a safe restoration process, power was turned on for all remaining customers. Field crews patrolled on the ground and in the air. Aerial inspections were completed by five helicopters in rural, mountainous areas.

In the Lilac Fire zone, 56 customers remain without power. Full restoration of power is expected early Tuesday evening for these customers after repairs to damaged poles are completed.

SDG&E field crews have replaced 30 of 43 poles that were damaged in the fire. Work will continue (Tuesday) to complete replacement of the remaining 13 poles. All damaged poles in the affected area will be replaced with fire-resistant steel poles with thicker, stronger wire.

We understand that being without power, for any reason, is an inconvenience and we appreciate the patience we have received from our customers."

For the latest information on restoration times visit sdge.com/outage.

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