Report: Edison Botched Response To Power Outages After SoCal Wind Storm

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.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • Dottie

    As one of those people without power, telephone,etc for a few days it feel it was an inconvience but considering how many trees were down, how many power poles were down and lines down, i’m surprised they got it done as fast as they did. I have lived in Altadena all my life, and that’s a long time, and I have never seen winds that high. I consider myself lucky, 5 small limbs and 1 large limb broke out of my oak tree but not onto my roof. I was with out power and telephone for a few days but look at it this way, they may have been hurricane winds but there was no water to drowned us or wash us away. They only thing I think Edison was lacking in was communication. Their voice mail system stinks. You can’t get answers from that.

  • Mia

    I live in Altadena too, and was also without power for 5 days – but I was able to get real time answers from SCE by following their FB page and Twitter accounts. Real-time communication is happening in real-time/real-life modern forms of doing so…and I think they did a good job – I was prepared to go a few days without electricity and was given a reasonable time frame in which to expect it, so kudos to them for handling an unexpected twist from Mother Nature!

  • joe dirt

    50,000 PER DAY AND PER VIOLATION, that’ s right, now we are talking. SCE you suck. Lol

  • Karen Lindsley

    I know many a lineman & they work their tails off in all kinds of inclement weather to make our lives better safer..These guys are right up there w/ law enforcement & firefighters….They put their lives on the line daily…You go guys!!

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