Imperial, California - A severe summer storm knocked electrical service out to about 6,000 Imperial Irrigation District energy customers Thursday night, as heavy winds slammed portions of eastern Riverside County in the Thermal, Mecca and Oasis areas, toppling energy transmission and distribution lines and causing transformer equipment to fail.
As of early Friday afternoon, power had been restored to all but about 170 customers located in the most heavily damaged areas along Ave. 64 between Highway 111 and Fillmore St. and along Ave. 66 between Fillmore St. and State Route 86. Due to the destruction of double-circuit power transmission and distribution lines along Ave. 64 and Ave. 66, repairs could extend into next week, said Marion Champion, communications officer with Imperial Irrigation District, causing some customers to be without power for an extended period of time.
Emergency operations are being coordinated among IID, Riverside County and the American Red Cross. A cool center has been established at Desert Mirage High School, 86150 66th Ave., Thermal, by the Red Cross, offering food and temporary shelter for those residents who do not have electrical service due to the storm.
“Customer patience is appreciated and the response to this emergency by everyone involved has been exceptional,” Champion said. “IID is doing everything it can to get the power back on as quickly and as safely as possible.”
The heavy winds hit late Thursday evening. IID energy construction and troubleshooter crews, along with contracted energy repair crews, worked to identify emergency areas and coordinated efforts with county fire and sheriff departments to isolate downed lines and protect public safety. While a number of customers were without power for most of the night, crews worked around the clock to restore power, bringing the first customers back online within a few hours.
While utility crews continue to make repairs, residents are asked to contact IID if they do not have electrical power and report downed lines and poles by calling 1-800-303-7756. As is standard practice every summer, IID reminds electrical users to avoid using major appliances like washers, dryers and dishwashers between peak hours of 1 and 7 p.m. to reduce peak energy consumption.
To keep up to date on the outage and restoration efforts, customers can follow IID through the IID website at http://www.iid.com/energy/report-a-problem/power-outage.