With the power out, Long Beach businesses struggle

Another vault explosion and subsequent power outage left an estimated 30,000 people without power on Thursday, July 30, 2015.
Another vault explosion and subsequent power outage left an estimated 30,000 people without power on Thursday, July 30, 2015.
Courtesy City of Long Beach Twitter account

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A fire inside an electrical vault is being blamed for a power outage Thursday in Long Beach, the second one this month. The outages are an inconvenience residents, but for local businesses, they can bring thousands of dollars in losses.

When the lights went out at around 5:00 p.m., Behjat Benan, who owns Johnny Rocket’s Long Beach, was getting ready for the dinner rush.

“We were cooking and then it just went off, the same as last time,” Benan said.

Benan sent employees home and closed for the night, because Southern California Edison told her the power would out for at least 24 hours. As it turned, the power came back around 8 p.m., but by that point it was too late to re-open.

"It's summer time, and especially with the Special Olympics, we've been doing pretty well," said Benan. "So, we lost a lot of business."

By Friday afternoon, power was restored to most businesses and residents. 

At least this time she didn’t have any food go bad, unlike the outage on July 16th when her restaurant went dark for three days just after thousands of dollars of food was delivered before the weekend.

“Oh my god, we lost a lot,” said Benan. 

Benan is one of 87 business owners who attended a workshop last week hosted by the Long Beach Small Business Development Center to learn how to document losses and file claims with Edison and insurance companies.

“We had some businesses that lost up to $60,000 in food,” said Ted Hiatt, Interim Director of the Long Beach Small Business Development Center.

After the second outage Thursday, Hyatt is planning to host another workshop soon.

"It's frustrating and it's scary, and I think people are trying to figure out where we go from here," said Hiatt.