Power outages continue in La Jolla after troubled Labor Day weekend

Power lines
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Power continued to be sporadic in parts of La Jolla after electricity was restored Sept. 5 for a total of 415 customers following a long outage in the midst of a heat wave that has put a strain on the electrical grid.

Two additional outages on different circuits affecting 236 customers in the Mount Soledad area began at about 8:15 p.m. Sept. 5 and continued the morning of Sept. 6, according to San Diego Gas & Electric. The utility said the causes of those outages are being investigated.

The earlier problem, reported at 5:51 p.m. Sept. 4, occurred on a circuit called LJ3, which affects neighborhoods from La Jolla Shores to Bird Rock, according to SDG&E.

SDG&E said the last 70 customers of the 415 affected had power restored shortly before noon Sept. 5. But Muirlands resident Melanie Ault told the La Jolla Light that electricity was “on again, off again” later in the day.

Ault and other residents said there was a series of outages over the Labor Day weekend, with one affecting the Muirlands area from the evening of Sept. 3 to the morning of Sept. 5. Some said outages have been occurring periodically for weeks.

“I (along with 70 residents or more) have been without power since around 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3,” Muirlands resident Leila Armstrong told the Light at 11 a.m. Sept. 5. “I have lost all my food in the refrigerator and freezer and finally decided that it was best to move to a hotel. I was relatively lucky, but there are some elderly residents with pets around me who are not.”

In a message to La Jolla customers shortly after 7 p.m. Sept. 5, SDG&E stated: “First, we would like to apologize for the repeated outages that have occurred in your area due to extreme heat driving up energy demand significantly. We appreciate your patience as our crews continue to work to reconfigure the circuit and restore power. The circuit reconfiguration could potentially take a few days, and you may continue to experience outages on and off in the coming days. In the meantime, as a temporary solution, our crews are working to set up a backup generator.”

Last month, SDG&E replaced a cable that helps deliver power to more than 160 houses after a series of power outages in La Jolla’s Country Club area that started in May.

For the seventh consecutive day, the California Independent System Operator — which manages the state’s power grid — has a Flex Alert in effect Sept. 6, seeking voluntary power conservation to reduce pressure on the grid as temperatures that have reached triple digits in some areas of San Diego County drive up use of air conditioners.

The system operator issued the first Flex Alert of the past week on Aug. 31,urging residents to reduce electricity use from 4 to 9 p.m. Additional Flex Alerts have been issued each day since.

During the alert periods, residents are urged to take power-saving steps such as:

• Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher

• Avoid use of major appliances

• Turn off unnecessary lights

• Avoid charging electric vehicles

• Close blinds and drapes to help keep interiors cool

— City News Service contributed to this report.