Christmas Eve Blackout May Leave Southern California in the Dark

More than 365,000 Los Angeles-area residents could spend Christmas Eve in the dark if high winds return to the drought-stricken region this week.

Edison International’s Southern California utility is warning on its website that it may need to cut power to 121,830 homes and businesses across seven counties to prevent live electrical lines from sparking fires. Dangerous winds could arrive Wednesday, a company spokesman said, and linger into Thursday -- Christmas Eve.

Similar circumstances prompted Edison to switch off power to some customers on Thanksgiving. Most of the customers at risk this week live in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

California’s utilities have resorted to switching off power lines in advance of wind storms after their equipment has repeatedly triggered deadly, wind-driven wildfires. While December typically ranks as one of California’s wettest months, Los Angeles has recorded no rain so far this month, leaving vegetation tinder-dry.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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