Author: Jeffrey

The Los Angeles Fire Is Putting Los Angeles on Fire

The Los Angeles Fire Is Putting Los Angeles on Fire

A $50,000 electric bill? The cost of cooling L.A.’s biggest houses in a heat wave

This article was originally published as “Power outages heat up our hottest homes” in The Los Angeles Times, on Aug. 23.

A cold day in Los Angeles is a long way off, but a power outage was just about enough of a reason for a reporter to call a house on a busy north L.A. street. The woman on the other end of the line was there to investigate L.A.’s hottest home for The Times.

After hanging up the phone, she found the man whose house had been selected. He had been at work and was still trying to get home.

As she left the house, she had to step across a couple of sleeping bodies who were in the process of dying from the heat. A man in a sweat suit lay on the couch, his bare feet inches from the floor. Another was on the patio, his head nearly touching the roof.

The first day of L.A.’s scorching heat and electrical power crisis was Aug. 23, when power was restored more quickly than it usually takes after major storms. The outage was blamed on a “break in a high tension cable,” which led to an out-of-control electrical junction box, which then sparked an explosion that rocked Santa Monica and caught a lot of other areas on fire.

So far, the fire has had the biggest effect on the city’s hottest homes — those that are so hot they can’t get water into their air conditioners or hot showers. Some have had to resort to taking showers outdoors, where temperatures are above 110 degrees.

When California’s statewide power grid breaks down, and when most of the state is in the midst of its hottest day ever, one of the things it’s most likely to do is turn off water to the homes of the people in the most vulnerable communities. It’s a problem that the state is trying to fix in time for the second day of this fire season, but that may mean waiting longer for homes and businesses to be powered up at night.

Los Angeles County Public Health

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