The Santa Ana winds are back this week, and with them, the threat that tens of thousands of San Diegans will have their electricity cut off.
The utility has shut off power to East County residents several times in 2020 due to the presence of high winds, which bring with them the risk of downed power lines that can ignite brush fires. Any fires sparked during Santa Anas, of course, are especially dangerous due to the rapid rate of spread.
San Diego Gas & Electric on Tuesday said that it had notified 31,000 customers in inland valleys and mountain areas about the possibility of the shutoffs during the red flag warning, which begins at 8 a.m. on Wednesday and will run through at least noon Thursday.
"We understand the last thing our customers want to hear is that they may lose power given the holiday and COVID pandemic," SDG&E chief customer officer Scott Crider said in a news release issued Tuesday, adding that "it’s our hope that Mother Nature will cooperate and conditions will change, eliminating or reducing the need for safety power shutoffs.”
Crider also said the shutoffs are a last resort and that the utility hopes to minimize any outages.
Power was cut off to 45,000 San Diegans in early December, which also prompted school closures. It's not yet known if any districts have yet canceled classes this week.