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."
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 include:
- 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) also 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.
Check back for more coverage of the reports' findings and Edison's response to the windstorm.