SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — A relative of three family members who were electrocuted due to a power-line failure following the 2011 windstorm reacted on Friday to a proposed $24.5 million penalty against Southern California Edison.
On Jan. 14, 2011 — Steven Vego, his wife Sharon, and their son, Jonathan Cole — were killed by a 12,000 volt power line that had fallen during the intense winds. The couple’s then-10-year-old son, and 17-year-old daughter, survived.
“It’s really difficult because we miss him. And we miss my aunt. We miss my cousin,” said Mathew Vego, a relative of the victims.
On Friday, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) announced a proposal to impose a $24.5 million fine against Southern California Edison for negligence, finding that there were three prior incidents on the same circuit.
The CPUC said Edison fell short in design and construction. The Associated Press reports that, if approved, the funds for the penalty will come from company shareholders, and are not expected to impact customer rates, according to Edison. CBS2’s Tom Wait said the fine would go into the state’s general fund.
“Nothing can replace the fact that his mom and dad aren’t going to be at his wedding. They’re not going to meet his kids,” Vego said, referring to his cousin, who survived.
The fine is on top of an undisclosed settlement the family had received from Edison.
“I don’t think there’s anything that’s enough. Really, the only thing that I was worried about was my cousins being able to live a life,” Vego said.
Today, at the San Bernardino home where the accident occurred, the power pole appears secure. Although renters now live in the home, neighbors say the deaths of the family members remain an open wound.
“Nothing can replace their parents or their family and they were very nice people,” said Deanna Allender, a neighbor.
As part of the agreement, Edison says that $9.5 million of the proposed fine is expected to be used on safety enhancements.