“Oil Capital of California” Among Counties Threatened With Power Shutoffs

October 29, 2019

The “Oil Capital of California” is among those areas scheduled to lose power from Southern California Edison (SCE)  as part of the utility’s “Public Safety Power Shutoff” initiative to protect against power line-caused fires during an extreme wind event in the Los Angeles area.

Hurricane-force winds are forecast to continue through Thursday evening with wind gusts up to 80 mph around the mountains north of L.A., prompting Pacific Gas & Electric and SCE to shut down power to areas where fire potential is most dangerous, including west and north of the city.

Kern County on the other side of the mountains northwest of the L.A. Basin is considered the most prolific oil-producing county in the US. producing up to 10% of the nation’s crude supply.

Home of two large oilfields and two refineries (the Kern Oil Bakersfield and the San Joaquin), the Bakersfield metro area is also home to more than 800,000 residents..

The two utilities said on Tuesday that power shutoffs are underway for more than 200,000 customers in Kern County (including fast-growing Bakersfield) as well as Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino and Venture counties.

The oil & gas industry also produces steam cogeneration from oil fields in the southern San Joaquin Valley produces that much of the electricity used in both Kern and Los Angeles counties, according to the county’s website.