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Reports: Edison Could Have Shortened 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." 

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.

Related: 

Also: 

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 Pasadena Star-News coverage of the reports.

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.

VFD April 04, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Its real easy to sit back and criticize when you were not actually involved in the work done by Edison. Edison did a fine job under the circumstances considering this was a worst case scenario throughout the foothill areas. The County Board of Supervisors should focus on saving the County money instead of spending money to criticize Edison.
Terry April 04, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Get over it already. It was an unusual storm for the area, and Edison's workers did all they could to restore power. It wasn't like Edison just had to flick a switch and everyone would get power back. It was so much more complicated than that. The repair was a huge undertaking, so there were bound to be some flaws and errors.
The Dragon's Den April 05, 2012 at 12:31 AM
The problem I had was the lack of viable information. After waiting over 3 days to call, when I did they could not could or would not tell if it would be working in 2 days or a week or more. This information would have helped greatly in planning if we stay for a few days longer without power and heat, stay somewhere else or rent a generator. I didn't think it was to much to ask if my area was at least being worked on and I did not expect the power should be back on in any timeframe. When you have young children or elderly, just getting some information is valuable.
Ian April 05, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Considering that the entire SGV was effected, I think that Edison did a decent enough job. Can you imagine if the feds were in charge, though? Shoot, we'd still be without power.
Susan R April 05, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Edison? Eagle Rock has DWP. Let's get over it.
Johnnie April 05, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I think Edison did a great job too. They called in work crews from far away and they probably approached the repairs in a methodical way, but there will always be those complainers who are upset that their power wasn't returned first. That's the way it goes. These people wouldn't survive a day in a third world country.
Daniel E. Harlow April 05, 2012 at 06:00 AM
To all you saying they did a great job, don't believe that, read the report skip the PR release in the article as it glosses over the major flaws in their planning or lack of it actually.
Daniel E. Harlow April 05, 2012 at 06:17 AM
Gosh was going to post some gems from the document but there are just so many, here are a few... SCE does not have a well-defined process to evaluate risks, analyze outage impacts, and identify resource needs, anticipated costs, and preparedness options. SCE’s current plans and protocols do not provide adequate direction to SCE personnel in responding to a significant event. SCE’s current damage assessment and planning processes do not adequately support a major event restoration. SCE did not fully implement and staff the Emergency Response Plan, in preparation for, and at the onset of the storm’s arrival.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) April 05, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Daniel, we've located quite a few and written them up in a separate post: http://patch.com/A-sl70
Ymar Solamo April 06, 2012 at 04:22 PM
What could have been done to prevent it? Is this going to be common from now on? Will they finally take the correct steps to manage this issue now that they know this is going to be happening over and over again? But now they've done a study and apologized...their bad and they promise to make it up to us in the future. I love how when we make a mistake "we pay a fee"...when they make a mistake "they just apologize".

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