(KGTV) -- Power was restored to thousands of East San Diego County residents Monday, after more than a week of no power per San Diego Gas and Electric’s strategy for dealing with the fire risk posed by high winds.
At noon on Monday, approximately 2,200 customers had their power shut off for safety reasons. The outages were in Pala, several East County communities, and the Lilac Fire zone.
SDG&E found 42 power poles that were burned or damaged and must be replaced. The utility said it will replace the wooden poles with fire-resistant steel poles.
Monday night SDG&E shared the following:
“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."
The company has a list of frequently asked questions about safety-related power outages, including an explanation about why power can’t be restored more quickly.
As mentioned earlier, before we can restore power, crews must patrol lines to assess whether there is any damage. It is difficult to predict how long a patrol might take, given the varied length of each power line, the terrain and whether aerial patrols are required.
Some circuits are located in rural, mountainous areas that require a helicopter to patrol. In those cases, wind speeds need to be below 35 mph in order for the helicopter to fly safely.
SDG&E started ground and aerial patrols needed to safely restore power after the red flag wind warning expired Sunday night. Power company crews are being joined by firefighters to ensure a safe restoration process, SDG&E said.
SDG&E has two Mobile Command Centers open to provide mobile device charging, food, and water. The centers are at the Caltrans Park and Ride, 7838 Japatul Valley Rd. in Descanso, and Jess Mountain County Park, 2955 Highway 79 in Julian.