Edison responds to intensified power outages on the Peninsula
With power outages on the Peninsula becoming more frequent, Southern California Edison officials are answering tough questions by officials from all four cities on the hill.
This week, SCE officials met with area city managers as part of a quarterly update on infrastructure upgrades. The power company is completing a $4 million project this year, having spent about $10 million on upgrades since 2008, according to a company report.
But city officials are not entirely satisfied. Carolyn Lehr, Rancho Palos Verdes city manager, said pre-litigation letters are now being drafted on behalf of all the local agencies.
“In our regional agencies we participate in we hear this is happening all over,” she said. “The wires seem to be holding the poles up in many places. The infrastructure is just not keeping up.”
Marvin Jackmon, SCE spokesman, said the company has tried to be as responsive as possible. It recognizes the lines need upgrading, Jackmon said. But it’s going to take time.
“We know there’s more work that needs to be done on the peninsula, but this problem is not going to be fixed overnight,” Jackmon said. “It’s going to take a few years.”
After a letter from Palos Verdes Estates Mayor William Rea in October, Edison agreed to install more fault indicators and fused switches. Those improvements should help engineers identify outages easier and respond quicker.
Based on an Edison analysis provided to PVE officials, power was cut off to area residents 38 times in 2011. Three of the outages lasted for nearly a day and several occurred on consecutive days in the same neighborhood.
Judy Smith, PVE city manager, said complaints started coming in steadily last Fall.
“That really triggered some calls,” Smith said. “They said we need the city’s help.”
But the city doesn’t own the infrastructure, so it can basically only exert public pressure or possibly file a lawsuit if things deteriorate even more. Along with meeting with the city managers, the PVE council requires a quarterly update from Edison as well.
“They will be before us on a pretty frequent basis until we have an indication that the issues are being adequately addressed,” Smith said.
Beverly Ackerson, an RPV resident, said her home commonly has power outages. It also receives frequent power surges that blow out light bulbs. She said Edison replaced the meter box and the power lines leading up to her house, but not to the rest of the neighborhood.
“The problem is they don’t have all new lines,” Ackerson said.