Inland Empire customers lose power for more than a day during sweltering heat wave

Nearly 1,000 SoCal Edison customers in the San Bernardino area suffered an extended power outage over the weekend in the midst of a massive heat wave.

Temperatures hit triple digits over the weekend, when the power went out at Nat Chripchuzk's home went out. He called FOX 11 after his family had been without power, and subsequently air conditioning, for more than 24 hours. The outage threatened both his mother and his dogs.

"So the power first went out on Sunday around 3:13 p.m., if I'm not mistaken, and didn't come back until [Monday] at around 8:40 p.m.," Chripchuzk said. "So we were up over 30 hours without power. It got really, really hot in here."

Chripchuzk said that over the weekend, getting answers from SoCal Edison was a challenge. Saying that he had to select their phone option for the most serious emergency just to get through to a person, "But the answer was pretty much the same," he said. "'There's a problem,' 'We're analyzing it,' 'We're looking into it,' and they wouldn't give us any answers."

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SoCal Edison confirmed to FOX 11 that 930 customers were without power Sunday into Monday because of equipment failure, but for most of those customers the power was back on by Monday. But, about 240 of those customers, including Chrichuzk and his mother, required generators. Early Wednesday morning the power had gone out again several times.

"We actually had to replace one of those generators that affected some of the customers," said SoCal Edison's Reggie Kumar. "But from my understanding, the outage was fairly short, and it is under control now. We want our customers to have the power that they need."

SoCal Edison has assured the affected residents that the generators are only a temporary fix, and that the permanent fix is coming. But for people like Chripchuzk, the promise is a hollow one. Past power outages killed half of his fish, so now he uses battery packs to keep the water oxygenated. On Monday, the outage forced him to lose income, as he was not able to host his regular piano lessons in his home.

"How can we be assured that this is not going to happen again, that the problem is fixed," Chripchuzk asked. "And it's the worst possible time too, because with this heat and everything, we're kind of on pins and needles and walking on eggshells."

Kumar with SoCal Edison assures local customers that the power should be stable Wednesday night and that a permanent fix is coming. As for Chripchuzk, Kumar said he may be able to file a claim for his financial loss on Monday.