By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Southern California Edison (SCE) will continue to deliver safe and reliable service to the communities it serves during emergency restrictions related to COVID-19. Electric operations are exempt from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order Thursday for Californians to stay home.
The company is committed to providing service to all customers, including those the state deems critical infrastructure sectors which are on the frontlines in the battle to fight COVID-19. These essential customers include hospitals, medical clinics, research facilities, public safety agencies, water districts and telecommunications networks.
“SCE provides an essential service for our communities, and the COVID-19 emergency has brought that into sharp focus,” said Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International, SCE’s parent company. “Our employees are determined to operate and maintain the grid in these challenging times when customers need service most.”
SCE continues to temporarily postpone non-critical planned projects, while only continuing with those related to emergency, public safety and wildfire mitigation work. Those projects that are proceeding are critical to maintaining the safe, reliable service that is even more essential to our customers in light of our communities’ efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis. The company is committed to timely customer notifications regarding associated outages and is taking additional measures to shorten their duration as much as possible. Not all work requires a customer outage. SCE also will continue to perform those tasks that are necessary for the safe and reliable operation of our system.
The company manages the electric system across a third of the state – from long-distance, high-voltage transmission lines to lower voltage distribution systems in local neighborhoods – and it is working to maintain an ample supply of electricity during the COVID-19 emergency. SCE continues to coordinate with other utilities and the California Independent System Operator to ensure the reliable delivery of electricity across the state.
If there are instances of unplanned outages, customers are encouraged to report them through the company’s usual channels – online at SCE.com/Outage or by calling 800-611-1911. SCE frontline employees, including first-responder troublemen, line crews and customer contact center representatives are ready to be of service to customers if a power outage occurs.
We are taking measures to be sure employees who continue to serve critical functions in the field or office stay healthy by continuing to practice social distancing and hygiene recommendations, enhanced cleaning of facilities and the use of additional protective gear when job tasks require workers to be closer than the recommended distance of 3 to 6 feet. Additionally, control room operators at the Grid Control Centers and generating facilities have been instructed to avoid contact with non-control room employees and conduct shift transitions and briefings using telecommunications where appropriate.
Last week, the company announced that it is suspending service disconnections for nonpayment and waiving late fees. SCE also encourages customers who are having trouble paying their bills to contact the SCE Customer Contact Center to discuss payment extensions or arrangements.
In addition, to help Californians who are facing economic hardships because of quarantines, taking care of family members or school and business closures, Edison International will make $1 million in donations to community-based organizations in its service area, starting with a donation of $150,000 to the California Community Foundation’s COVID-19 LA County Response Fund.
This is a quickly evolving situation, and SCE emergency planning teams are focused daily on the continuity of the company’s critical operations and managing potential impacts to our workers, customers and communities.