City Council denies accusation it ordered power outage

DOWNEY -- Downey officials on Friday denied an accusation by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia that the City Council ordered a planned Southern California Edison power outage to go on as scheduled Saturday, despite complaints of sweltering heat.

Residents on Lakewood Boulevard, just north of Imperial Highway, were notified 11 days ago that power would be interrupted from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday due to scheduled maintenance.

News of the power outage upset some residents, who complained of losing power on a day when temperatures are projected to reach 90 degrees.

On Saturday afternoon, Garcia's office claimed the outage was put on hold.

"I thank Edison for their wise action to delay the outage, which was to extend for 15 hours across the hottest parts of the day," Garcia said. "Keeping customers safe and out of harm's way during extreme heat should always be a priority..."

Downey city manager Gilbert Livas, however, said Garcia was mistaken, and the power outage was still a go.

Later Friday afternoon, Garcia issued a correction, but blamed the outage on the Downey City Council.

"Edison was willing to wait, but City Council asked for the scheduled planned blackouts to continue" Garcia tweeted.

Garcia said the electrical work is necessary to accommodate a 24 Hour Fitness, which she said is slated to open on Sept. 18 at The Promenade shopping center.

"Given the warm temperatures, Southern California Edison attempted to reschedule the work, but after consulting with the developer and the city of Downey, they were told that the city would like to move forward with the outage," she said.

Mayor Pro Tem Alex Saab denied the allegation.

"I don't know what she is talking about," Saab said. "We have nothing to do with Edison's blackout."

Saab added that it was the developer and Edison that declined to delay the outage.

Bottom line: Edison customers on Lakewood Boulevard will be without power most of Saturday.