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Tens of thousands without service due to SDG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff

Posted at 6:25 AM, Dec 08, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Tens of thousands of San Diego Gas & Electric customers in San Diego’s East County were without power Tuesday morning as strong Santa Ana winds continue to swirl in the region.

As of 1 p.m., 10,982 customers were without service in communities including as Alpine, Campo, Julian, Ramona, and Valley Center. SDG&E said another 35,431 customers in areas including Chula Vista, El Cajon, Poway, and San Marcos could potentially have power turned off.

LATEST PINPOINT WEATHER FORECAST

Citing the region's Red Flag warning and the power shutoffs, the San Diego County Office of Education said schools in the following districts would be closed on Dec. 8:

  • Alpine Union
  • Valley Center-Pauma Unified
  • Warner Unified
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District: schools will offer asynchronous learning, where students may work independently reading, watching pre-recorded lessons, or doing assignments, projects, or online activities (where power is available)

SDG&E will open one resource center each in Descanso, Julian, Potrero, Ramona and Valley Center. Those centers will remain open until 10 p.m. and offer access to water, Wi-Fi, ice, snacks, phone and medical device charging, water trucks for livestock and up-to-date information on outages. All five centers also have a drive-thru option.

For an updated list of communities affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff or to find a resource center, visit sdge.com/public-safety-power-shutoff.

Residents brace for high winds

On Monday, in Valley Center’s Hellhole Canyon, wind gusts reached 82 MPH, according to the National Weather Service.

Some business owners across San Diego County prepared for the possibility of losing power.

“If the café does lose power, we do have a generator at home, so we’d probably prioritize the business over the home,” said Anamaria Kent, who runs Cleveland Café in Alpine with her mother.

“We don’t panic; we’ve been through a few power outages,” said Kent. “When we get any sort of notification that the power will go out, we do everything possible that we need with the power.”

“Living where we live up here in the mountains, you’re kind of used to this stuff,” said Larry McNamer, who owns Major’s Diner in Pine Valley.

McNamer lost power at his Pine Valley home around 5 p.m. Monday. The diner also lost power after just going through a round of shutoffs days ago.

“Fortunately for us, we’re closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays anyway, so this time it works out,” he said.

Cal Fire officials continue to remind everyone that fire season is still here in San Diego County. Last week, the Willow Fire, fueled by Santa Ana Winds, destroyed one home in Rancho San Diego and damaged several more.

On Dec. 7, three years ago, what started as a small fire just east of Bonsall, quickly grew and spread into the Lilac Fire, burning thousands of across and destroying more than 100 homes.

“Is it something that we all have in the back of our minds? Yes. And we do everything and have done everything that we could possibly do to make sure that we’re ready and prepared,” said McNamer.