Sayre Fire Prompts Power Transmission Line Outages

November 15, 2008

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began taking major power transmission lines near the Sayre Fire out of service at  5 AM today as the fire moved west toward the I-5 Corridor in Sylmar.  Transmission lines were taken out of service due to the threat posed by the fire in order to assist firefighters and protect the public’s safety.  The I-5 corridor through Sylmar serves as a major utility corridor for the LADWP and other utilities, bringing imported power to Los Angeles from power plants in the Pacific Northwest and Southwestern US.  As the fire moved toward the high-voltage transmission lines, the LADWP turned off these lines to ensure the safety of firefighters and the public.

These high-voltage power lines are critical to maintaining a steady supply of power to the City, especially as demand for energy rises throughout the day.  If they remain out and are unable to return to normal service as demand increases, the LADWP may need to initiate rotating power outages in parts of the City.

To make up for the loss of power, the LADWP has activated all in-basin power plants in order to generate additional energy.  It is expected that these plants will be fully operational by approximately 6:30 AM.    The LADWP’s in-basin plants are normally used to supplement our imported power supply on an as-needed basis, but they may not be able to generate enough power to make up for the losses.

Due to this development, the LADWP urges all residents to take every effort possible to reduce their energy demand immediately and all day Saturday. Residents are urged to avoid using all major appliances, including air conditioners as long as doing so does not compromise their or their family members health or safety.  Reducing energy use will help us meet the energy needs of other customers.

The LADWP is taking every possible step to ensure a steady supply of power to the City and will move as quickly as possible to restore power if and when it is lost.  However, our first and foremost priority is to protect the public’s safety and protect our firefighters and police officers who are battling this major fire.

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