CPUC to Hold Public Participation Hearing on Edison’s Response To Recent Windstorm-Related Outages

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold a Public Participation Hearing regarding Southern California Edison’s (SCE) response to power outages that began Nov. 30 after a severe windstorm. Some SCE customers were still without service on Dec. 7, a week after the windstorm. The Public Participation Hearing will take place on Jan. 26 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Temple City High School Performance Hall, 9501 Lemon Ave. in Temple City.

The public is encouraged to attend the Public Participation Hearing so the CPUC can hear first-hand about the outages and SCE’s emergency response from its customers. Also at the hearing, SCE will provide a brief description of its outage response and may reply to previous criticisms received since the windstorm, including the length of time it took to restore power to all customers despite promises to have power restored within 24 to 48 hours after the storm, and the length of time it took to respond to safety related calls from its customers.

In addition, the CPUC has ordered SCE to provide customer service representatives at the hearing to assist customers with questions and claims related to damages allegedly caused by the power outages.

For those unable to attend in person, written comments may be submitted to: CPUC Public Advisor, 505 Van Ness Ave., Room 2103, San Francisco, CA 94102 or via email to public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov. If specialized accommodations are needed, such as sign language, please contact the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s Office five business days beforehand toll free at (866) 849-8390 or toll free TTY at (866) 836-7825.

While a quorum of Commissioners and/or their staff may attend the Public Participation Hearing, no official action will be taken.

Beginning on Nov. 30, electric utility customers across Southern California experienced power outages as heavy winds ripped through the region. The severe wind conditions resulted in downed trees and power lines, road debris, and other safety related problems across SCE’s service territory. Some SCE customers were still without service on Dec. 7, a week after the windstorm. The CPUC determined that a public hearing was necessary to hear from the public about SCE’s customer service and outage restoration times. The vehicle chosen for the hearing is SCE’s ongoing General Rate Case proceeding, as the revenue request in the proceeding includes funding for customer communications, equipment inspection and maintenance, and emergency service restoration activities.

In addition to this Public Participation Hearing taking place in the General Rate Case, the CPUC announced on Dec. 7 that it is investigating 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 took SCE to respond to safety related calls from its customers and the accuracy of information being conveyed. The CPUC will determine whether SCE met all safety requirements and did all it could to prevent outages, restore power, and communicate with its customers. If the CPUC determines that SCE has violated safety rules, it may face fines and penalties. The CPUC expects to issue a preliminary report this month.

For more information, see the Ruling setting the Public Participation Hearing at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/efile/RULINGS/156007.pdf.

For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.