$24.5M penalty proposed for Edison over windstorm

Sponsored by

Michael R. Blood, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One of California's largest utilities has agreed to pay a $24.5 million penalty for safety violations uncovered after a 2011 windstorm left more than 400,000 customers without lights and a power-line failure electrocuted three family members, state regulators announced Thursday.

The proposed decisions by the California Public Utilities Commission staff said Southern California Edison also violated rules by failing to preserve evidence needed to investigate power-pole collapses that occurred during the storm.

An agency investigation found that Edison failed in numerous cases to maintain poles or other power equipment that were factors in both cases.

The company said in a statement that the settlement is "in the public interest." Edison has submitted a joint motion with the commission's Safety and Enforcement Division seeking approval of the agreement.

The commission is not expected to consider the penalty until at least May. If approved, funds for the agreement would come from company shareholders and would not impact customer rates, Edison said.

On Nov. 30, 2011, powerful Santa Ana winds generated gusts nearing 100 mph, leaving hundreds of downed trees and tangled high-voltage power lines that blocked streets, keeping repair trucks from reaching many hard-hit areas. Uprooted trees remained on sidewalks and in gutters days afterward.

Edison officials later called the crisis caused by the storm unprecedented and apologized to customers for delays restoring power.

The CPUC said Edison gave inaccurate information on power restoration and violated safety standards during the storm, which left 440,000 customers without power.

Among its findings, the investigation found 248 wooden electric poles were damaged and broken. At least 21 poles did not meet safety requirements, for factors including termite damage or extensive rot. In addition, the probe found Edison's emergency procedures were not kept up to date.

The utility was also blamed for an electric-pole conductor that fell to the ground, killing a man, his wife and their son. The investigation found that the Jan. 14, 2011 deaths in Acacia, in San Bernardino County, were caused by Edison's "failure to properly maintain its electric system in compliance with state law and commission regulations."

The probe found "similar conductor failures have been occurring for the past six years on the same circuit and in the proximity of this incident. However, SCE did not take appropriate measures to prevent such recurrences."

Copyright 2014. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sponsored by
Most Popular Articles

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

May 2015
Volume 19, Issue 5
cover

Utility Products Topics

Transmission & Distribution
                       Vehicles & Accessories
Tools & Supplies   Safety
Line Construction & Maintenance   Test & Measurement

WEBCASTS

How to deploy mobile forms + devices to speed up field service processes & reporting

Overcoming the pain points associated with any process is much simpler and more cost effective than you think. This webinar will detail the benefits of switching to mobile forms for field data collection and reporting.
 
We'll examine real use cases and ROI of integrating mobile forms within a given field service process, including for work orders, inspections, checklists and proposals.
 
A quick AT&T Mobile Forms demo will reveal the feature rich, user-friendly nature of the solution. You'll see why it’s a must-deploy to speed up data collection, eliminate invoicing/data entry lags and auto-generate/deliver insightful reports.

UTILITY PRODUCTS BUYERS' GUIDE

POWER INDUSTRY JOBS

Industry Company Pages

Keep up-to-date with the latest news and articles from some of the prominent utility product companies and resources.

BUYER'S GUIDE PRODUCTS

Everlast pole tags

Everlast pole tags for distribution poles have been used all over the world in this great earth's worst environment's proving it is the longest lasting product to use on pole's!

Everlast Substation signs

Everlast safety signs and Everlast Substation signs meet all ANSI and OSHA requirements and continue to be readable for the life of the substation. When most signs fail ours shine.

SB01 Splice Enclosure and Accessories

AFL’s SB01 splice enclosure provides protection from all types of elements. From weather to bullets, the iron and steel construction requires no additional protective covering.