Winds Hot Topic at Council Meeting

SCE presentation offers information on power outages that left residents in the dark for days.


The unusually strong Santa Ana winds that hit Southern California in November left homes in La Crescenta without power for days, upsetting residents because of the delay in restoration efforts.

The Crescenta Valley Town Council (CVTC) held its first meeting of 2012 on Jan. 19 at the La Crescenta Library, with much time spent on a presentation by Southern California Edison explaining the reasons it took some time before the company responded to damages that resulted from the windstorm.

“The damage of this particular storm was extremely concentrated,” said Gary Shockley, district manager of the utilities company. “The systems we use to evaluate and assess the damage were overwhelmed, and policies that we have in place to ensure public safety to a certain extent may have added some time to the restoration effort.”

Complaints from community members included the minimal responses to telephone calls and the time it took to fix utility lines.

Shockley, who has worked at Southern California Edison in Monrovia for 27 years, said he hadn’t seen anything like the concentrated damage that occurred in such a confined area.

He also said La Crescenta runs on 13 circuits out of three different substations, all of which have some extent of damage. The reason one home may have had power while another home across the street didn’t during restoration efforts, Shockley explained, was because the buildings probably ran on different circuits.

Dave Ford, region manager in local public affairs for the utility company, said winds reached speeds of 80 to 100 mph in certain places, and that approximately 500,000 customers were without power for days.

The spokespeople for California Edison apologized for the inconveniences resulting from the outages caused by the storm, but also noted that no fatalities or serious injuries occurred from the winds.

The company is conducting internal reviews and having consultants do independent reviews to evaluate how to improve its responses and restoration efforts to better serve its clients. It is also partnering with out-of-state utilities, such as ones in Alabama and Ohio that are used to hurricanes, tornadoes and like events that leave their customers without power for days.

“We don’t have all the answers, but we are doing everything we possibly can to put preventative measures in place so that our communication plan is effective in a way in which we can respond to your needs, so it’s much more efficient in the future,” said Ford.

While the windstorm was a topic given much attention, the council also spent some time officially recognizing eight adolescents as the first members of the community’s inaugural youth town council.

Due to time constraints, the council had to appoint the youth members. However, councilmember Harry Leon said those wishing to serve on the youth council would have to campaign and get voted into office just as the candidates of the town council do.

Another presentation during the meeting recognized Jan. 13 as Korean-American Day, and President Barack Obama’s speech on the importance of Koreans in the nation was read aloud.

Los Angeles Sheriff Deputy Jorge Valdivia cited an overall decrease in crime from 2010 to 2011, but advised people to keep their garages locked and keep valuables out of sight if they are left inside vehicles. He said two vehicle burglaries occurred because backpacks were visible.

The Crescenta Valley Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition, which recently welcomed seven new board members, is currently applying to become an official non-profit organization.

A proposal to put up seven streetlights on Rosemont Avenue in front of Rosemont Middle School was made, but the Glendale Unified School District hasn’t yet indicated whether or not it supports this. Once there is word from the district, the community will decide how to proceed with the matter.

The next CVTC meeting is scheduled on Feb. 16 at the La Crescenta Library Community Room at 7 p.m.

The Library is located at 2809 Foothill Blvd. in La Crescenta.