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Reports Detail Mistakes in Edison Windstorm Response

While the independent report says SCE could have shortened the restoration period by possibly two days, it also says SCE deployed a sufficient number of resources to restore power to customers without any serious injuries to SCE employees or the public.

Two new reports released Wednesday on Southern California Edison's power outage response after last fall's devastating —one by the utility company and another by independent consulting firm—conclude that SCE could have shortened the time it took to restore power that affected as many as 440,000 San Gabriel Valley customers.

"I am pleased that SCE has responded proactively to the problems identified in its response to the recent Windstorm by releasing both an internal report and a report from an outside firm," Rep. Adam Schiff said in a statement Wednesday.

"Both reports identify areas where SCE's response should be improved for [the] future." 

The report does not specifically address the company's response to outages in Monrovia.

While the independent report details 80 findings and 70 recommendations— stating SCE could have shortened the restoration period by possibly two days—it also says SCE deployed a sufficient number of resources to restore power to customers without any serious injuries to SCE employees or the public.

Cited areas of improvement included:

  • Better situational awareness
  • A fully functioning Incident Command System
  • An improved damage assessment process
  • A refined planning process
  • A more thoughtful implementation of its wire-down policy

Nevertheless, SCE says it's been implementing steps across the utility's different business units since December and will "modify many of its practices in the future to enhance its response to major storms like the one of Nov. 30, 2011, although an independent report indicated the utility followed a number of industry best practices in its storm response."

It also launched a Facebook page since the storm to increase communication. 

"We have said from the beginning that we intend to learn lessons from our storm response and are determined to do better in the future," SCE President Ron Litzinger said in a press release Wednesday (attached).

The severe windstorm resulted in nearly 225,000 customers being without power at the peak of the event, and more than 400,000 customers experienced at least some power loss. The wind knocked down approximately 250 poles, 60,000 feet of wire and 100 transformers—most of them in the greater San Gabriel Valley

Following the natural disaster, The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced it would be conducting an investigation into prolonged power outages in the service area of Southern California Edison. And CPUC President Michael Peevey blasted Southern California Edison at a February hearing in Sacramento saying: "To some degree this was a botched operation."

SCE commissioned an independent consulting firm, Davies Consulting LLC, to conduct this independent assessment of the utility's preparedness for and the effectiveness of its response to last November's windstorm. See the full report attached.

Related: 

Read the full reports above or online at Southern California Edison's website.

Read SCE's full statement above or at this link.

Read the Associated Press report of today's news.

Check back for more coverage of the reports' findings and Edison's response to the windstorm.

Gayle M. Montgomery April 04, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Glad the outcome of the report is as it is. This was a once-in-a-lifetime storm, and the ratepayer doesn't pay to staff for this contingency on a day-to-day basis. It was an horrific windstorm that created much devastation and havoc, but you cannot blame SCE for what Mother Nature did.
Nancy shapiro April 05, 2012 at 04:21 AM
I agree...how could anyone ever predict such a wind storm. I am 62years old and have never seen such a storm here or on the east coast. I cannot help but shake my head every time I am at or near the Arboretum and seen what damage occurred there and in that neighborhood. I was at taco lita in Arcadia one day with some of the guys from San bernarnido area working for us...they were exhausted but resting. I thanked them for all they were doing for our cities. It was an extreme weather event and I am extremely thankful we came through it as good as we did.
Kate K. April 06, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Thanks, Nancy and Gayle, for your understanding about the magnitude of the wind storm and its damage. As a retired Edison person (it really was the 'Edison family' then, so we didn't think of ourselves as just employees), I am very glad so many of the general public appreciate the difficulty and danger the crews doing that restoral work faced night and day. I was out of power for 4 long-seeming days, but I thought of the people in some northern states who regularly go for weeks without power after a large ice storm. No ratepayer wants to pay the huge amount it would cost for a utility to keep enough expensive supplies (transformers, switches, trucks, crews, etc.) on hand 24/7 for such a rare and huge event as that windstorm.
Gayle M. Montgomery April 06, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Ok, Kate, confess. Where at SCE did you work? I spent 24 years there. 22 at GO1 and 2 in Alhambra. I left in 99. It wasn't loyalty that made me post this. It's just a basic understanding of the electrical grid, rates, etc. That, and having survived a Cat 1 Hurricane in Florida that was somewhat akin to what we endured, minus the wet.
Gayle M. Montgomery April 06, 2012 at 05:57 AM
And Kate, I remember the Edison family. When it stopped being such, it was time to go.

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