On March 19, 2019, Cal Fire and Ventura County Fire found that Southern California Edison equipment was responsible for starting the Thomas Fire. As a similar result is expected for the most recent fires in Malibu, one has to wonder who makes the decisions at SCE. How many fires, how much loss of life and animal habitat, how much damage to the environment, and how many lawsuits will it take for them to finally see the light? 

Turning off the power during high winds, one of their worst “bright” ideas, is beyond understanding. Leaving thousands of people in the dark for potentially days, losing emergency communication services and I guess closing schools and other public services isn’t exactly “customer friendly.”

Now we have their next “dim” idea! Cutting down or cutting back any tree (even if it’s on your property) within 12 feet of a power line. Now, that’s a beautification plan if ever there was one. I am sure that everyone wants to see a 24-foot swath of open sky, with power lines and poles featured front and center, everywhere they go!

Which leads to the inevitable question: Why don’t they put the ugly poles and lines underground?

If they would invest the money in putting their lines underground in high fire areas, at the least they wouldn’t have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on litigation, nor would they have to spend years hacking back the trees, or have crews of thousands going from disaster to disaster, putting back the same equipment that has failed time and time again. 

Just to add insult to injury, they recently replaced all of the poles and lines through Malibu Canyon after a previous fire and litigation, with huge, even more ugly metal/concrete ones and that’s in a designated scenic highway. I guess they missed that big sign as well. 

If we could get them to “see the light” and underground the wires, they could demonstrate that they actually care about something other than their bottom line. 

Kate Novotny

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