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IID crews swiftly respond, repair damage caused by Tropical Storm Hilary

-Editorial

In the wake of Tropical Storm Hilary, Imperial Irrigation District has been working around the clock, restoring power to thousands of electric customers across the district’s vast energy service area while at the same time mitigating against potential floods throughout its water service area.

With the bulk of the storm hitting the region on Sunday, the district’s Customer Service Call Center fielded close to 4,200 calls that day alone. Throughout the storm, upwards of 11,400 customers were, at one point, temporarily without power. As of Monday afternoon, all but approximately 85 have had their service restored.

“The reach of the storm was quite extensive,” said IID Energy Manager Jamie Asbury. “Nearly every corner of our service area was impacted. We want to thank our customers for their patience as we attended to all their calls, and please know, we are out in full force working to bring everyone back online as quickly as possible.”

Although high winds and rain led to major outages on Sunday, the storm’s initial impact occurred late Friday, Aug. 18, when 45 poles on a major transmission line (“R” Line) along Harrison Street between Avenue 58 and Avenue 63 in Thermal went down. IID was quickly able to restore power to all but 39 of some 3,000 customers; full restoration and rebuilding of those lines is not expected for several days. IID and contracted crews are also working in the Imperial Valley where multiple transmission lines went down.

In water matters, the district lowered all main canals and individual laterals in anticipation of runoff water from the storm. While several washouts were reported along the west bank of the Westside Main Canal and a 24-inch drain pipe collapsed, the district anticipates having the repairs completed by Tuesday.

“Obviously, our hands have been quite full,” said IID Board President Alex Cardenas, who addressed the Imperial County Emergency Operations Center on Sunday evening. “We’ve done an incredible job putting a response together. So, we’re on it and we want to thank all our folks across both counties for all the hard work. We appreciate you guys being away from your families, putting our communities first.”

The district worked ahead of the storm to prepare, fully staffing its Energy and Water Departments, Customer Call Center and Communications Section to be alert for any impacts, and providing updates as they become available. Employees worked around the clock at both the Emergency Operation Centers in Imperial and Riverside Counties.

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