The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has issued a final staff report regarding prolonged power outages in the service area of Southern California Edison (SCE) following the Nov. 30th and Dec. 1, 2011 windstorms which knocked down utility facilities and uprooted trees. (Read the complete report below.)
The 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.
The CPUC report found SCE and communication infrastructure providers, who jointly own poles in SCE’s service territory, violated safety factor requirements. Those providers are AT&T, Champion Broadband, Charter Communications, Sunesys, Time Warner Cable, TW Telecom, and Verizon.
The agency determined SCE’s restoration time was inadequate, the information in SCE’s emergency procedures was not up to date, and SCE personnel did not follow the training schedule outlined in its Local Public Affairs Plan. SCE also did not ask for mutual assistance from other utilities.
The majority of the damage from the windstorms happened in the San Gabriel Valley.
The CPUC investigation showed 248 SCE wood poles supporting electric and communications facilities and 1,064 SCE overhead conductors were damaged causing 440,168 customers to lose power. The highest number of simultaneous customer outages was 226,053.
Power was not fully restored until December 8, 2011. The CPUC said there were no reports of injuries, deaths, or major fires due to the windstorm.
The report will be used to guide the CPUC’s Safety and Enforcement Division in its work with SCE to resolve the problems identified and implement the recommendations.