A major 500-kV transmission line (the Southwest Power Link) shut down by the fires raging near San Diego was back on-line today, easing some of the congestion on the power grid, according to a Reuters report.
The line carries up to 900 MW of electricity from the Palo Verde nuclear power station and other power plants in neighboring Arizona.
"There are no other major transmission lines out right now ... but I need to emphasize that the situation is very dynamic. It can change any moment," said Gregg Fishman, spokesman for the California Independent System Operator, according to the Reuters story.
San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison reported about 62,600 customers currently without power because of the wildfires.
About 35,000 of the customers without power Monday were in San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Approximately 5000 customers in Forest Falls and Idyllwild were without power because SCE imposed protective power outages in bark beetle-infested areas on Sunday. SCE imposed the protective outages because the high winds and the unprecedented presence of thousands of dead or dying trees threatening the power supply to its customers.
Officials said Monday that SCE expected to begin the process of re-energizing the circuits supplying Forest Falls and Idyllwild later Monday when the winds were expected to subside. Officials said the circuits would first have to be inspected before being re-energized, a process that could take 24 hours or longer.
SCE estimates the fires damaged or downed approximately 550 power poles over the weekend. SCE has approximately 82 crews in the field in the affected areas. Also on Monday, SCE issued a request for aid from neighboring utilities.
"For those customers who have lost their homes in the fires or who have had to evacuate and now face great uncertainty, we extend our deepest sympathy," said Larry Grant, SCE vice president for power delivery. "To our customers who have remained or are returning to your homes and businesses, we ask for your continued patience. We will work to get power back on quickly for you as soon as conditions make it possible for Edison crews to enter affected areas." The fires have scorched at least 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares), destroyed about 1500 homes and killed 14 people, Reuters’ report stated.