Utility admits “Performance fell short of our own expectations”
Southern California Edison (SCE) has received and is currently reviewing the California Public UtilitiesCommission, Safety and Enforcement Division’s final report on its investigation of the utility’s response to the Nov. 30, 2011,hurricane-force windstorm that resulted in significant damage to the SanGabriel Valley.
In their press release, SCE said “The final report recaps many issues that SCE has previously acknowledged. Based on a tremendous effort by SCE to learn from theresponse experience, including both an internal and an extensivethird-party investigation that SCE made publically available in April 2012,the utility has modified and significantly upgraded many of its practicesto enhance its response to major storms such as the one of Nov. 30, 2011.”
“Our performance in the San Gabriel Valley following the 2011 windstorm fell short of our own expectations, as well as those of our customers,local elected officials, and the commission,” said SCE President Ron Litzinger. “As a result, we have established a comprehensive program tostrengthen our service restoration and communication performance during andafter storms by bolstering key technology systems, and by increasing thescalability and integration of our storm response plan.”
SCE continues to believe that in an emergency such as this, there needs tobe an appropriate and practical balance between restoration efforts andpreservation of removed materials for later regulatory analysis.Restoration of electrical service had to take precedence in this situationgiven the magnitude of the damage and the significant number of customerswho remained without power. While SCE’s primary focus was on restoration ofservice, field crews transported and preserved more than an acre of fallenpole material as “evidence.”
SCE looks forward to working with the commission to develop protocols that would confirm the appropriate balance between restoration and preservation of materials following significant storm events.
SCE is currently planning to implement a study of its poles, as directed in the recent General Rate Case decision, to examine poleloading in the service territory and will report the results of thestudy to the commission by July 31, 2013.
The Outage Center on SCE’s website, SCE.com, was redesigned forbetter access via mobile devices. This includes a new mobileapplication for iPhone and Android smart phones to give customers theopportunity to access outage information, report an outage, or trackoutage status via their mobile devices.
The utility identified more than 40 potential staging sites within the service territory that can be used as command posts and locations for crew gathering and dispatch, as well as to store materials.
SCE has improved situational awareness through storm and response modeling, which was tested during the utility’s responseduring the 2012 heat wave.
The utility plans for the use of Early Damage Assessment Teams for immediate field deployment to perform quick assessment of the magnitude and location of damage, which can then be used as input to help determine the appropriate restoration strategy and resource requirements.
Background on the 2011 windstorm:
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, the hardest hit area.
SCE deployed more than 1,500 field resources to remove vegetation and safely restore power. Within 24 hours of the peak outage total (4 a.m. on Dec. 1, 2011), SCE had restored nearly 50 percent of its customers’ power. Restoration efforts were completed on Dec. 8, 2011. SCE field crews worked around the clock for days in a difficult and dangerous environment. Thousands of hours were spent removing trees, rebuilding entire electrical lines, installing over 200 poles and reestablishingservice for hundreds of thousands of customers.
While some customers were without power for an extended time, 92 percent of affected customers in the San Gabriel Valley area had their power restored by Sunday eveningor within four days. There were no serious injuries to the crews or the public.
Customer safety is a top operating priority for SCE. If you see a downed line or dangling wire — even if it appears not to be live — don’t touch or approach it and call 911 immediately.
A video and fact sheet about powerline safety are available at: www.sce.com/powerlines. The information is available in Spanish at: www.sce.com/cables.The Davies report and SCE’s internal report are available on SCE’s website at: http://www.sce.com/windstorm.Follow us on Twitter(www.twitter.com/SCE)and like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SCE).