California Public Utilities Commission blasts SCEdison for poor handling of windstorm in 42-page-report

Report cites serious safety violations; ‘restoration time was inadequate’

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The California Public Utilities Commission released a 42 page document detailing their final findings which indicate serious violations on behalf of SCE in the handling of the days and weeks that followed the windstorm.
The report goes on to say: “On November 30, 2011 and December 1, 2011, powerful winds swept through Southern California Edison Company’s (SCE) territory knocking down utility facilities, uprooting trees, and causing prolonged power outages. Two-hundred forty-eight wood poles and 1,064 overhead conductors were affected. The highest number of simultaneous customer outages was 226,053. Full restoration was completed at 6:21 AM on December 8, 2011. There were no reported injuries or deaths due to this incident.
The Consumer Protection and Safety Division (CPSD) of the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) investigated the cause of the failed poles, SCE’s restoration effort, and SCE’s communication with the general public and governmental agencies during the incident.
CPSD determined that SCE and Communication Infrastructure Providers (CIP), who jointly own poles in SCE’s service territory, violated General Order (GO) 95 safety factor requirements. The CIPs involved are AT&T, Champion Broadband, Charter Communications, Sunesys, Time Warner Cable, TW Telecom, and Verizon. At least 211 poles and 17 guy wires did not meet the safety factor requirements codified in GO 95, Rule 44.1. CPSD also found that SCE violated GO 95, Rules 17 and 19, for failing to adequately investigate the outages and pole failures and for failing to preserve the evidence.
CPSD found that SCE’s restoration time was inadequate. In addition, information in SCE’s emergency procedures was not updated and SCE personnel did noty follow traing schedule nor did they ask for mutual assistance.”
The massive windstorm on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2011 affected 440,000 Edison customers, including about 205,000 customers in the San Gabriel Valley. It caused more than $34 million in damages in the Los Angeles County area.
Among the hardest hit cities affected by power outages were Temple City, Arcadia and South Pasadena. Many households and businesses were without power for over a week.
The 42 page document also said that 20 power poles failed to meet safety factor requirements.
The full report can be viewed on our website: www.pasadenaindependent.com.

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Story and photos by Terry Miller

January 17, 2013

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