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Windstorms: State launches investigation into Edison's response

December 7, 2011 |  3:23 pm

Click here to see more photos.The state Public Utilities Commission launched an investigation Wednesday into why thousands of Southern California Edison customers sustained a days-long loss of power after last week’s furious windstorms.

The Santa Ana winds knocked out power to some 430,000 Edison customers and, by Wednesday, about 2,000 San Gabriel Valley residents remained without power. The valley was the hardest-hit area by the windstorms.

“Our enforcement staff is looking into why the outages occurred and why it is taking so long for power to be restored,” PUC Executive Director Paul Clanon said in a statement. 

PHOTOS: California windstorm | Submit your photos

“SCE has a duty to provide safe and reliable service to its customers and we have a duty to make sure SCE is doing all it can to fulfill that mandate.”

The commission plans to examine the cause of the outages, including pole failures and any other potential safety factors that contributed to the outages or their duration, as well as staffing levels and the length of time it is taking Edison to respond to safety related calls from its customers.

In an open letter to customers published Wednesday, Edison acknowledged a failure to meet its own goals for service restoration and provide accurate information to customers.

Steve Conroy, an Edison spokesman, said the company used enormous resources to tackle the windstorms' destruction. 

“We have been working around the clock," Conroy said. "But it has been a very daunting restoration effort. We know our customers are frustrated and angry and we apologize.”


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Photo: Wind damage in Fontana.

Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles