SCE warns customers to expect long-term power outage in the coming days

SCE crews assessing areas damaged by Thomas Fire

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - [UPDATE Sunday 9:00 p.m. PST]

As of 9 p.m., the Thomas fire is causing intermittent outages and power surges in the Santa Barbara area, potentially affecting up to 85,000 customers. In the Ventura area, 2,432 customers are experiencing outages due to the Thomas fire. Generators have been deployed in numerous locations as repairs continue. 

[UPDATE Sunday 5:00 p.m. PST]  As of 5 p.m., the Thomas fire is causing intermittent outages and power surges in the Santa Barbara area, potentially affecting up to 85,000 customers. In the Ventura area, 4,304 customers are experiencing outages due to the Thomas fire. 

For more information, click here.

[UPDATE Saturday 6:30 a.m. PST]  As of 9 p.m. Friday, approximately, 4,342 customers are experiencing outages across the SCE territory. Included in this number are SCE customers impacted by four fires currently burning in the SCE territory:

  • Thomas fire along the North Coast (3,217 customers. These customers are all in Ventura)
  • Creek fire in Sylmar (22 customers)
  • Rye fire in Santa Clarita (7 customers)
  • Liberty fire in Murrieta (16 customers

For more information, click here.

[UPDATE Friday 9:00 a.m. PST] About 10,300 Southern California Edison still experiencing power outages as of 9 a.m. Friday. The number of customers affected include those affected by the Thomas Fire and other wildfires burning in Southern California.

[UPDATE Thursday 5:45 a.m. PST] From Southern California Edison: 

Southern California Edison’s damage assessment teams and crews are working with first responders to see when they can safely enter the devastated areas to begin making repairs.

As of 4:30 a.m., there are approximately 6,300 customers without power from the Thomas Fire. 

Damage assessment teams have not been granted access to fire-damaged areas of the Thomas fire. When they gain access, the progress of their work will be determined by weather conditions, terrain and the movement of the fires. The magnitude of the damage is anticipated to be significant and extensive, but a full accounting of the destruction will not be available for a few days. 

The restoration effort for the Thomas fire will require construction work from the ground up on the local circuits that power the fire-affect areas. This includes the engineering and design of all utility structures, and the installation of poles, transformers, switches, etc.

Customers impacted by these fires should be prepared to be without power for at least the next few days and power will be restored to customer incrementally on a circuit by circuit basis. There is no specific order in which customers will have power restored beyond the accessibility to the fire-damaged areas. The only priorities that will be considered where accessibility isn’t an issue are essential services (police and fire facilities, hospitals, water and sewage facilities) and critical care customers. The last circuits to be rebuilt may take up to a week or more.

SCE customers across Southern California are experiencing extremely dangerous high winds, fire activity and Red Flag conditions and may lose power. Due to public safety concerns, SCE may also turn off power to specific circuits in areas where there is a high risk of predicted extreme winds.

Forecasts indicate continued and worsening weather conditions for the remainder of the week. If outages do occur, the power will stay off until weather conditions improve, and SCE personnel can patrol and inspect lines before returning them to service so power can be restored safely.

“We understand the inconvenience of turning off electric service and will make every effort to reach out to customers in affected areas to make them aware and will work to notify fire and public safety agencies, as well as local and state officials in advance of shutting off power,” said Paul Grigaux, incident commander and SCE vice president of Transmission, Substations and Operations.

[UPDATE Wednesday 10:50 p.m. PST] Invest in a flashlight and stock up on canned food items. NewsChannel 3 received confirmation from Charles Coleman, Corporate Communications with Edison International, that people impacted by the Thomas Fire may be without power for awhile.

Southern California Edison (SCE) crews are "just starting to gain access to some of the fire-damaged areas. Customers should be prepared to be without power for at least the next few days. Customers' patience and understanding is appreciated." The update came via email from SCE's Inside Edison.

For more information click here.

[UPDATE Wednesday 9:55 p.m. PST]: Approximately 7,000 customers were without power as of 9:15 p.m. Wednesday in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties due to the Thomas Fire.

[UPDATE Wednesday 8:00 a.m. PST]: More than 6,000 Southern California Edison customers continue to experience power outages because of the Thomas Fire.

[UPDATE 8:00 a.m. PST]: As many as 20,000 customers of Southern California Edison are without power in Ventura County.  The Thomas Fire burned under large transmission lines, which means the utility must wait until the fire is gone before repairs can be made.  SCE said some residents may be out of power for several days.

[UPDATE:  5:30 a.m. PST]:  Southern California Edison crews have restored power to much of Santa Barbara, but outages continue in Ventura County, due to the Thomas Fire. 

Much of the Santa Barbara south coast saw flickering and outages Monday evening. SCE officials blamed the problems on large transmission lines under the fire which has already burned more than 31,000 acres and destroyed 150 structures.

From SCE:

As of 2:55 a.m., power has been restored to all of the 83,000 SCE customers in the Santa Barbara county area who were without power, and most of the 180,000 customers who were without power in the Ventura county area.  Some customers in fire-affected areas should be prepared to be without power for days because of damage caused by the fire.

Transmission lines will continue to be threatened as the fire continues to burn along the transmission path possibly causing additional interruptions.    

Other customers experiencing scattered wind-related outages, including Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, and Malibu are expected to be restored on Tuesday.

A local transmission emergency was declared by the California Independent System Operator (CASIO) due to the loss of critical transmission lines serving the Ventura and Santa Barbara area, and has requested additional generation units to support restoration of power for the impacted area.



At least 83,000 residents in Santa Barbara County and 180,000 in Ventura County are without power due to the Thomas Fire burning in Santa Paula.

Southern California Edison (SCE) says the fire burning in Ventura County has impacted SCE transmission lines causing widespread power outages.

Power outages began Monday night and continued early Tuesday morning with no clear timeline of when SCE crews will restore transmission serving impacted areas.

To see a map of the power outages affecting your area and additional information, click here.

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