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Confusion abound as Santa Barbara County monitors possible Public Safety Power Shutoffs

Although Santa Barbara customers are no longer under Public Safety Power Shutoff consideration, officials say that could change later this week as they monitor wind, temperatures, humidity, moisture levels and fuel to burn.

Residents say there was a lot of confusion during the latest potential Public Safety Power Shutoff when it comes to alerts and information.

Don Blackwell said he didn’t know what agency to turn to if he had a question or needed clarification and Pamela Brown never even got a PSPS alert, despite living in an affected zone.

The goal is that customers would get a 48-hour notice and emergency officials would get 72, so they can prepare.

“I got Edison at home, I got OEM because I’m on that because of the school I work at so I’m getting them from all different areas and each one was maybe, maybe not,” said Padric Davis, a Riviera resident.

Some community members tell us it was hard to understand the outage maps.

“They split our neighborhood in a funny way. We’re just south of the freeway. Houses closer to the freeway were in the outage map and our house was out of the outage map,” said Blackwell.

“He could see it and magnify it and see clearly that our home was in an area but it still was ambiguous,” said Davis, explaining the lengths her husband took to decipher the information.

We couldn’t get a clear answer from Southern California Edison as to who the information should be coming from first, although the utility apologized for any misunderstanding and said people should keep checking its website or call for information.

“There’s got to be some kind of, a more cohesive method to doing this,” said Brown.

The Edison spokeswoman says they communicate constantly with a network of emergency operations, first responders and local government agencies, including the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.

She speculates that information was shared ahead of the 48-hour notification window since projections are made several days in advance.

“I would like it to be the same and I would like it to be more specific,” said Davis. The All Saints By the Sea Parish Director is now considering getting a generator.

We reached out to the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management and the County CEO Office released a statement to us. You can read their response to the confusion here.

KEYT 2019

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KEYT News Team