PALM SPRINGS, Ca.
When it’s 107 by 11 am, walking by Ben and Jerry’s on Palm Canyon could make even the most dedicated will power melt into a sweet treat.
But when a faulty transformer in one of the SoCal Edison underground vaults blew, shutting off power to some businesses on Palm Canyon and shutting down Taquitz Between Indian Canyon and Palm Canyon, there was more than just will power melting.
According to Palm Springs business owners, it’s a semi-common occurrence in the Coachella Valley– a power outage.
This time in downtown Palm Springs and multiple businesses were affected as well as hotels.
"We’re going to the Spa Casino that has air conditioning and we’re going to sit inside," says Candace Watts, who is visiting Palm Springs from Huntington Beach for her 15th wedding anniversary.
While some had options to help them through one of 3 power outages through Palm Springs and desert hot springs, not everyone did.
"We’ve seen a lot of customers walking by and it was groups of people," says Kierra Collins, a floor manager with Lush Couture. "So I felt like we’d have a lot of business and we ended up missing a lot of business."
The frequency of power outages in downtown Palm Springs concerns some local business owners, and Friday was another example of that.
Ben and Jerry’s cleared out the freezers in the front of the store to house their ice cream in walk in freezers in hopes of preserving as much as possible.
And while not all the businesses on palm canyon were affected, even the ones that had power were still affected by Taquitz closing down.
Early Friday morning, a problem in one of the underground electrical hubs, or vault, that house the switchers and transformers, caught fire. SoCal Edison tells us it’s a methodical process of repair that takes time and given the amount of firepower in these vaults, that can be a "very dangerous."
While Edison restored about 85% of the power by 1:00 pm, some were left with no AC, and no business well into the afternoon.
"We’re hoping it comes back on," says Watts. "We’ll be OK if it comes back on soon, otherwise, we’ll be sleeping in the pool."
If that’s not an option for your family, SoCal Edison says the best way to prevent these kind of issues through the summer is conservation, pointing out refrigerators and AC units are the two biggest energy guzzlers in any home or business.
While they say the power was restored after 2:00 Friday, the businesses KMIR spoke to closed down for the day.
SCE tell KMIR it’s not a supply issue that causes these outages, it’s the wear and tear on the equipment that’s running 24 hours a day for months on end. And they recommend turning the AC up to 78 while gone through the day, or setting it to turn off through the early morning hours to offer the system a much needed break.