Tree Topples and Causes Power Outage for 648 DWP Customers in West Palisades Area

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This large tree fell on Paseo Miramar and caused a transformer fire and power outage.
Photo: Nextdoor Gregg Champion

A large eucalyptus tree on Paseo Miramar fell across a power line and started a transformer fire early this morning, December 21.

One resident alerted Circling the News early this morning, “Our power went out around 4:45 a.m. I just got off the phone with the DWP and was told that 648 customers (residences, businesses) are without power because of a transformer fire.”

The resident noted that lights were out in the Castellammare area, but she was able to see the lights in Sunset Mesa (in unincorporated L.A. County and not serviced by the DWP).

“Power outages used to be common here in our section of the Palisades but virtually stopped when DWP installed poles on Sunset near western Marquez,” the resident wrote. “This could be the first outage we’ve had since they went up. But if it’s a transformer fire, then this outage is not caused by a strain on the system.”

Power came back on shortly after 7 a.m.

Brooke Crane’s photo posted on Nextdoor, showed that it was impossible for anyone to leave the area. It is one way in and out of Paseo Miramar.

(Editor’s note: Pole-top distribution stations, which the resident refers to, were installed at Sunset and Temescal Canyon Road and at Marquez Avenue and Sunset to help alleviate the electrical shortages in Pacific Palisades. Our town’s sole electrical station was built in 1937 at Via de la Paz and Sunset.

By 2012, the DWP knew that a new distribution station was sorely needed for the western side of town. When the department announced its intention to build DS-104 on its Marquez Avenue property, parents at Marquez Elementary and nearby residents objected that the station would be too close to the school.

In response, then-City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and the DWP organized an 11-member task force, largely from the Marquez area, to research potential sites and provide recommendations.

DWP staff systematically investigated those sites, even pleading with State Parks to build a DS station on Los Leones parkland (behind Fire Station 23). This request was rejected.

Residents have urged Councilman Mike Bonin to find a site and have the station finally built, but instead, the PTDS poles will have to suffice until a suitable site is selected.

According to DWP official Eric Hartman in a 2017 article, once a site is selected, it could take three to four years to build a new substation because of legal challenges. 

At a March 2017 public hearing, in which the owner of the 16980 Sunset property appealed the decision to build there, DWP warned it may need to install as many as five additional PTDS poles in the Palisades. The appeal by 16980 Sunset property owner Steve Sommers was denied at that hearing.) 

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1 Response to Tree Topples and Causes Power Outage for 648 DWP Customers in West Palisades Area

  1. Paul Glasgall says:

    Sue
    There were 15 task force members, not 11.
    Wouldn’t say the majority were from Marquez but for sure the best choices were not the property you mentioned along Los Liones. Saying DWP pleaded for that location, unless done secretly, without our knowledge, would be misleading.

    It is interesting that it is now 8 years and no new station but the story was we needed it immediately or there would be constant blackouts. Sort of same story as with Santa Ynez reservoir that took 10 years as opposed to the required 3

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