Speaking at a UCSB public forum on November 2, Southern California Edison President Pedro Pizarro explained that there are unique problems in reliably transmitting electricity to Santa Barbara and surrounding communities using long and isolated power lines over mountainous terrain.
He said that geographically, Santa Barbara is located at the end of a “unique arm” of its service area that cannot be served by multiple transmission lines, as is the case in most other areas. Consequently, “if we think about some of the massive fires that we’ve had in the state or larger scale earthquakes, there’s a potential for multiple of those lines being affected simultaneously.”
SCE filed reports in 2012 and 2014 with the state Public Utilities Commission acknowledging that emergency conditions “could limit access for transmission line/tower repair or replacement for possibly up to several weeks.”
View summary slides from the report here: https://goo.gl/1j1ODJ
With a strong El Nino forecast for this winter, Pizarro said the utility is emphasizing “preparedness” in the form of pre-positioning emergency equipment and assembling standby repair crews, while also reinforcing some towers.
The Pizarro described the World Business Academy, a Santa Barbara based nonprofit think tank, as prominent among those who have “great ideas about what else we can do” to address this issue. The Academy continues to insist that a new independent power system using mainly solar energy, be built in Santa Barbara to increase our community resilience and energy reliability.
World Business Academy president Rinaldo Brutoco commended Pizarro’s candid acknowledgement of Santa Barbara’s situation. “The Academy has been tracking this issue closely,” he said, adding, “we believe the only real solution is creating a local 100 percent renewable energy microgrid system that will be resilient and reliably provide power in the face of El Niño storms and other dangers we face now and will face in the future.”
The World Business Academy continues to insist that the unique, imminent danger of an extended loss of power in Santa Barbara requires faster action: “We appreciate the crucial and expanding working relationship we are building with Dr. Pizarro and SCE. We at the Academy know that more can be done, faster. And that has to happen,” Brutoco said.
For more information on this issue visit http://SBR3.org.