By Julie BUTCHER
Glendale Water & Power (GWP) general manager Steve Zurn addressed the Glendale City Council on Tuesday to give an update on what he called “an unprecedented event” which interrupted power to many of its customers.
“We experienced over the last little more than a month some incidents that occurred at one of our sub-stations [that] subsequently created collateral damage that ended up creating an emergency situation in which we had to take the most drastic measures we’ve ever had to take,” he said. Those measures reduced the utility’s output creating emergency outages to a percentage of its customers.
Zurn explained in detail the series of events that led to the outages then ended with an apology to the affected customers.
First, an auxiliary transformer at GWP’s Rossmoyne sub-station exploded on July 24, sending oil and debris into the larger transformer at the site “rendering it inoperable.” Notwithstanding back-ups and redundancies built into the system, that explosion triggered sporadic power outages to a limited number of households.
That event, however, was followed by cable failures at the Scholl sub-station on Aug. 30 and Sept. 3 requiring the more extensive “load-shedding procedures” (e.g., power outages that lasted from the early afternoon into the evening, rotating among areas that rely on electricity from the Rossmoyne, Freemont and Scholl sub-stations –approximately 25% of the utility’s customers) over several days, concluding once the transmission line was restored on Sept. 8.
A six-man crew worked around the clock to replace and consolidate three separate cables into one, with help from Burbank Water & Power, which sold the needed cable to Glendale “without hesitation,” Zurn reported.
Glendale takes a great deal of pride for the reliability of its services, Zurn said in concluding his comments.
“This is regrettable. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and interruption to their lives,” he said.
“Is it because there are too many apartments?” asked Councilmember Paula Devine. No, Zurn replied. In fact, new development is generally more energy efficient. A lot of construction replaces something else, he added.
Mayor Ara Najarian commended the workers.
“Those are the brothers of the IBEW, right? Sometimes we’ve gone through tough negotiations with them but when we need them they always come through.”
Zurn reported on additional sources of renewable energy expected to come online: 25 megawatts from Los Angeles’ Eland solar and battery project; nine megawatts from Scholl Canyon biogas; and 17 megawatts from the Open Mountain geothermal project, all 100% renewable, with the City’s energy use projected to be at 60% from renewable sources by 2022 or 2023, ahead of state regulations mandating those amounts by 2035.
In other news, Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian and Mayor Najarian reported being thrown out of a Royal Canyon Property Owners Association event. A representative of the group offered an apology for the “misunderstanding” but not for having embarrassed and humiliated the two elected officials at the event.
Local realtor Greg Astorian announced a poker classic to support the Glendale Fire Foundation on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Glen Arden Club, 357 Arden Ave. in Glendale. Dinner is at 5 p.m. and the tournament will start at 6 p.m.
“Come and lose some money for a good cause,” Astorian invited.
A mock election event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days at the Glendale Central Library Auditorium, 222 E. Harvard, to highlight changes coming to elections starting in March 2020. The event offers participants the opportunity to interact with the new ballot marking devices. Each day is sponsored by a local radio station; Power 106FM on Saturday and KDAY 93.5 on Sunday. More information is available at LAVote.net/Mock-Election and at GlendaleVotes.org
The council voted unanimously in favor of installing two memorial benches honoring beloved city worker and open space champion Marc Stirdivant. One would recognize his work on the Verdugo 10K he helped organize that starts in Brand Park and the other would be placed in Deukmejian Wilderness Park where he helped with the design of the nature education center.
Finally, the council discussed but did not vote on a new ordinance controlling vacation rentals and home-sharing (particularly through web applications such as Airbnb). The proposed regulations would allow for home-sharing on a limited basis providing hosts register, pay a license fee ($272 per year) and pay local taxes. The ordinance would prohibit vacation rentals where the host does not “live on site” entirely. The proposed legislation is expected back for further council deliberation in approximately 45 days.