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State To Investigate Power Restoration Delays After Windstorm

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TEMPLE CITY (CBS) — The State Public Utilities Commission has launched an investigation spurred by the power outages brought on by last week’s fierce windstorm. Their question — why is it taking so long to get the lights back on?

A full week after violent winds plunged Temple City into darkness, many homes and businesses were still without power. Crews worked Wednesday night to restore traffic lights that were not yet back to full service.

Temple City resident Steven Cen finally got his power back, but he wants the state to get to the bottom of why it took so long.

“I think it’s necessary because it’s really taking too long,” said Cen. “My friends, they’re three, four days, still no power.”

Cen says when he stepped outside to investigate what the crews were up to, there did not seem to be a sense of urgency.

Nearby resident Jimmy Lau spent four nights in the dark, but says he has no hard feelings toward the power company for the wait.

“I think they were the doing the best they could,” said Lau. “I’m not complaining.”

The mayor of Temple City, Tom Chavez, says power crews faced massive destruction and major obstacles — from trees downed on power lines, to power poles snapped in half, and roads blocked in all directions.

“The magnitude of the damage that was done, I think it just takes time to get through it,” said Chavez. “I think it was more just the task itself. It certainly wasn’t for want of trying.”

Southern California Edison set up service centers over the weekend to handout emergency supplies to customers who were without power.

Wednesday the president of the utility sent out a letter of apology.

“We were not able to achieve our restoration targets or provide accurate information about service,” said Ron Litzinger. “On behalf of the entire company, I apologize.”

The PUC wants to find out if any conditions beyond the storm were avoidable. They are investigating whether equipment or power poles were too old or should have been replaced, and whether Edison sent in enough personnel to fix the problems quickly.

Late Wednesday night, Edison reported fewer than 1,000 customers still without power.

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