TEMPLE CITY (CBS) — Thousands of residents are still without power one week after a violent wind storm disrupted service to more than 250,000 residents in the greater Los Angeles area.
The county has now opened warming centers to help residents cope with an early cold snap. Health officials warn that freezing temperatures elevate the risk of hypothermia for residents and pets who are without electricity or spending too much time outdoors.
Los Angeles County supervisors Tuesday accused Southern California Edison of failing to efficiently restore power to customers in the San Gabriel Valley.
“We certainly understand the frustration of our customers, some of whom have experienced no service for over four and a half days now,” Edison Vice President Veronica Gutierrez told them. “We can tell you, however, that we are entirely committed to getting these lights back on.”
Since the beginning of the storm last week, Gutierrez said 276 utility crews from as far as San Diego and Bakersfield have been “working on this nonstop day and night” to service 419,000 customers who lost power.
“I have spoken with 30-year employees who have never seen this level of damage,” she said.
She says a “very significant” amount of tree damage has hampered repair efforts.
County officials, however, were not impressed.
Supervisor Mike Antonovich accused Edison of failing to keep customers properly informed.
“You can talk to anybody on the street who’s been impacted and they’re saying, ‘Are we living in a third-world country or is this California?’,” he said.
Antonovich said he’s received dozens of calls from angry customers.
“You know, you had an exercise and you failed when we had the disaster. What do you do in the exercise? How do you evaluate the exercise? And how do you evaluate how we can do a better job than the previous exercise? Or is it coffee and donuts?” Anotonovich said.