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Thousands without power Thanksgiving day amid red flag warning

East County residents fill up their propane tanks
Posted at 10:03 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 21:26:57-05

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) — More than 5,000 SDG&E customers woke up on Thanksgiving Day without power due to public safety power shutoffs amid a red flag warning. ABC 10News crews saw many people purchasing generators and filling up propane tanks Wednesday evening.

It has been a very busy evening for Dani Athore at Quick Trip in El Cajon.

"We're just kind of busy, especially because of the holidays," cashier Dani Athore said.

Customers were lining up to refill their propane tanks. Donald Altom said he rarely uses electricity in his El Cajon home. So the potential for a Public Safety Power Shutoffs [PSPS] won't affect him too badly.

"I use propane for cooking, dryer, heating, all of it," Altom said. "I even got propane lanterns, so I'll be ok."

RELATED: SDG&E asking customers to prepare for potential power shutoffs over Thanksgiving holiday

On Monday, SDG&E announced the potential for blackouts in fire-prone areas, including Escondido, Ramona, El Cajon, and Alpine. They did this after the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning between 9 pm Wednesday and 6 pm Friday, which could possibly make for a pitch-black Thanksgiving break for up to 53,000 San Diego County residents.

Nearly 1,000 customers were already in the dark Wednesday night “due to unsafe conditions in the area,” according to the SDG&E outage map.

As of 7:30 a.m. Thursday, the SDG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs website listed the following communities are without power:

  • Alpine
  • Boulevard
  • Campo Reservation
  • Cuyapaipe Reservation
  • Descanso
  • La Jolla Reservation
  • Pala
  • Pauma Reservation
  • Pauma Valley
  • Potrero
  • Viejas Reservation

Another 49,800 customers remain at risk of shutoffs, including residents in Escondido, Poway, El Cajon, Nestor, and Lakeside.

The county also reminded residents to maintain defensible fire space around their homes and remove dead leaves, debris and other flammable items, such as wood piles, that are stacked against structures.

RELATED: County prepares for potential fire danger, Red Flag warning

An SDG&E spokesperson reiterated that Emergency Power Shutoffs are their absolute last resort. Residents can check if their homes fall in the Public Safety Power Shutoff zone HERE.