CPUC Penalizes Edison $24.5 million for Electric Incidents
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) penalized Southern California Edison (SCE) $24.5 million for violations involving a 2011 windstorm and electrocution incident.
The CPUC initiated an investigation to determine whether SCE violated applicable laws in connection with two electrical equipment failures in Southern California in 2011. The first event, on the morning of January 14, 2011, occurred when an electrical conductor on SCE's 12-kilovolt Vargas Line fell to the ground during high winds and started a small fire at an address on Acacia Avenue in San Bernardino County, resulting in the tragic electrocution of three members of the family living there. The second event occurred when strong winds in SCE's service territory on November 30 and December 1, 2011, uprooted trees and knocked down utility facilities, ultimately leading to prolonged power outages in part of the San Gabriel Valley.
Through its approval of an uncontested settlement reached between the CPUC's Safety & Enforcement Division and SCE, $15 million of the $24.5 million penalty will go to the state's General Fund and the remainder will go to mitigation efforts to address public safety concerns with electrical conductor contact and utility pole overloading and to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
'Remediation measures are forward-looking and, if well-designed and properly implemented, can correct problems in order to minimize or prevent the risk that harm will recur,' said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey, the Commissioner assigned to the proceeding. 'Importantly, the settlements require SCE to provide the CPUC with periodic reports on the results of the new programs designed to ensure that violations identified in the settlement do not happen again. This is very important, as the safety of electric infrastructure requires a proactive, ongoing commitment.'
Added Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval, 'I applaud our Safety and Enforcement Division for their investigation of SCE's actions regarding electrical equipment failures during high winds, including the windstorm of November-December 2011 that resulted in prolonger power outages in the San Gabriel Valley. The CPUC will continue its vigilance to ensure that the safety of Californians and the reliability of the electric network are top priorities.'
The document voted on is available at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M101/K368/101368187.PDF.