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Tens Of Thousands Still Without Power Thanks To Rain-Related Outages

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(Photo by Santoichi Ninja Extreme via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Monday morning's "rain" has not been kind to the city's power grid, leaving approximately 23,000 customers Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers without power, as of this morning. There were possibly up to 20 transformer and utility pole fires, according to the LADWP, reports CBS 2. This meant that a whole lot of customers were without power, with the hardest hit areas being San Pedro, Hollywood, and Venice. As of 8:30 a.m., 7,900 residents in Venice were without power. Another 2,000 residents in Hollywood woke up to find that their light bulbs were off.

Areas around the county that are serviced by Southern California Edison are facing similar issues with electricity. According to the SCE website, nearly 1300 customers were without power in Montebello in the wee hours this morning, but electricity was mostly restored by 6:30 a.m.. Currently, 553 customers in Monterey Park are without power, and another 900 customers out in Oxnard are without electricity. Drivers, in case you haven't noticed, aren't doing too great either—the California Highway Patrol reported 142 calls for service during the four-hour period between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. this morning.

If you're assuming that the problems have something to do with the rain, you're not off the mark. While workers from the LADWP and SoCal Edison are still determining the causes of each outage, spokespersons from both agencies say that the rain may have been a factor. As stated in a LADWP release, the rain may cause tree branches and palm fronds to fall on power lines. And, according to Mary Ann Milbourne, a spokesperson at SCE, the outages may be due to a phenomenon called arcing, which basically means that the electricity causes a burst of heat. Arcing may be facilitated when rain water comes into contact with the dirt and debris that have accumulated on the power lines over time.

One resident out in Venice posted a couple pictures of a transformer that's seemingly on fire:

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The big question, of course, is when the power will come back to your area. That's hard to say, as crews are scrambling across the county to tackle each power outage. At around 7:30 a.m., Los Angeles Daily News reported that a LADWP spokesperson said that the issues should be corrected within 10 to 12 hours. For areas covered by the SCE, many of the outages have already been fixed earlier on Monday morning. Though, for cities like Monterey Park and Malibu, power isn't expected to be fully restored until the late afternoon. You can check out this map to get an estimate on when your area will be back to normal.

Milbourne tells LAist that it's hard to get a timetable on when the repairs will be done. "The outages come and go all day long. It depends on how serious the damage is, and the location. Some places, if it's far out, it may be hard to get a line out there to restore power," said Milbourne.

As for what customers should do during an outage, the details should come as no surprise. Milbourne's most urgent warning is for people to avoid downed power lines. She also advises customers to use flashlights, rather than candles, so as to avoid a fire hazard.