PASADENA (CBS) — A state utilities panel said Wednesday that Southern California Edison may have botched its response to a series of widespread power outages during a massive wind storm last year.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has issued a preliminary report finding that Southern California Edison and Communication Infrastructure Providers violated safety regulations that contributed to power outages that affected hundreds of thousands of customers across much of the San Gabriel Valley in late November.
The CPUC panel also tentatively found that Edison violated other rules for failing to adequately investigate the outages and power-pole failures and failed to preserve evidence.
The early version of the report states that SCE and Communication Infrastructure Providers, which jointly own poles in Edison’s service territory, operated at least 20 poles and 17 guy wires that did not meet safety requirements.
An Edison representative did not have an immediate response, but said the utility would address the matter later today.
In the report, the CPUC determined that SCE’s restoration time was inadequate, and the utility’s emergency procedures were not updated.
Additionally, Edison did not ask for mutual assistance from other utilities, which would have reduced restoration time, according to the preliminary report.
Nearly 434,000 SCE residential and commercial customers lost power after winds gusting at up to nearly 100 miles per hour lashed the region Nov. 30.
The report could result in penalties against Edison, CPUC spokesman Christopher Chow said.
“Once the report is final, the CPUC will determine the next step, which typically would be a penalty consideration case where fines can be calculated up to $50,000 per day per violation,” he said.
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