Overloading Causes Power Outages in Pacific Palisades During World Series

By Sue Pascoe
Editor

It took the Los Angeles Dodgers 29 years to return to the World Series, but when the opening game began last Tuesday, many Pacific Palisades residents didn’t see the first pitch on television because of a power outage.

The next day, Palisades residents took out their frustration in e-mails to the Palisades News.

People wanted to know: Why did we lose power? Why does the power go out so often in various neighborhoods? What is the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power doing to fix the problem? What can residents do to speed up the process?

The News asked DWP spokesperson Carol Tucker about the outages. She replied by e-mail: “Due to extreme 100 degree + heat on the coast and across the Los Angeles basin, at approximately 3:45 p.m. today, LADWP grid operators advised that two local power distribution stations in the Brentwood and Pacific Palisades areas were significantly overloaded.

The sole electrical distribution station in the Palisades cannot handle the town’s demands for electricity.

“As a result, grid operators had to initiate outages in this area until energy demand goes down. The outages are affecting approximately 700 customers and are limited to ONLY a portion of the Palisades. Only two distributing stations out of LADWP’s 160 substations are affected.

“Overloading occurs when demand for electricity exceeds the capacity of station equipment so significantly that load must be reduced to protect against significant damage to the station and to prevent an outage that could affect a larger number of customers in the local areas served by these two stations.

“The current outage is limited only to the Pacific Palisades area and will be restored as soon as demand drops to a safe level.” People reported the power returning at different times.

As previously reported by the Palisades News, power distribution circuits have been overloaded here since 2009, and outages will continue until the LADWP installs a sufficient number of pole-top distribution stations or, ideally, a new distribution station.

LADWP’s Jack Waizenegger reported at a January 2016 Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting: “There are three existing troubled circuits. They are outage prone and overloaded.”

The areas affected by these circuits are the Marquez Knolls area, Castellammare and below Sunset by Palisades High School. Therefore, the poles and eventually the distributing station need to be located west of Temescal Canyon Road.

In 2012, LADWP announced plans to build a substation on its Marquez Avenue property, but a neighborhood uproar led to a task force, which nixed that location because of its proximity to the elementary school.

Although Brentwood Elementary School is directly across from a distribution station and condos are across the alley from the 1937 distribution station at the corner of Sunset and Via de la Paz, the task force was asked to search for other potential locations, besides Marquez Avenue.

The task force ultimately recommended several controversial locations and the DWP has since been studying the feasibility of these locations. Councilman Mike Bonin’s office has not yet taken a stand on any of the locations.

In an effort to ensure reliable power, the LADWP placed one pole-top distribution station at Temescal Canyon and Sunset, with a second now under construction on the ocean side of Sunset, near western Marquez Avenue.

LADWP has already told residents that if a substation isn’t constructed, additional poles will need to go up.

A reader e-mailed the News on October 25: “A few very vocal individuals have managed to prevent reliable power in western Pacific Palisades. Maybe LADWP should put it to a vote? I’d vote for a new power substation.”

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