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State officials ask SoCal Edison about their ‘mistakes,’ ‘operational gaps’ during power shutoffs

Members of the Public Utility Commission of California will address a utility “mistake” and “operational gap” that has led to widespread power outages over the past few months at a webcast meeting on Tuesday in Southern California Edison. I requested the authorities.

Between May and December 2020, SoCal Edison cut off power to its customers. This is a program called Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) designed to prevent wildfires caused by power line downs and other utility equipment failures. ..

Many of these cutoffs affected the Santa Clarita Valley, especially the Canyon Country and Acton / Aguadars communities, with some areas being out of power for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

When asked earlier by The Signal, SoCal Edison officials said that out of the 5 million SCV-affected customers during the outage in early January, a shutoff warning was issued or the power was actually shut down. We were unable to provide that information, regardless of what was done. ..

During the meeting, CPUC President Marybel Batjer said PSPS did not seem to “measure” the standards customers expect from utilities, and shutoffs seemed to be “confused” and “insufficiently performed.” Said.

“These shutoffs are not just an inconvenience,” Batjer added. “For many, loss of power means loss of income, loss of learning for more than a day, and fear and uncertainty for those who rely on backup power to maintain life-sustaining health care services. To do.”

Batjer said SoCal Edison had only turned off 20% of its customers who had previously announced the potential for PSPS, but that number is still too high and needs to improve communication for 2021. He said he believed.

“If you constantly notify a large number of customers and people change their plans and prepare, but nothing happens, then there is something wrong with the planning approach,” she said. “The opposite can happen — if the customer turns off without notice.”

In response to some of the issues raised by the Commission, SoCal Edison President Kevin Pain said the most important way to reduce wildfires and PSPS caused by utilities is to install more coated conductors. I said there is. Edison officials said they would set up 1,000 miles in 2020 and plan to do more in 2021. However, in other regions there is a need for improvement.

“The example here is a big difference between the number of advanced customer notifications we send and the number of actual customers we turn off,” Pain said. “We will notify our customers based on our predictions … so they have the opportunity to prepare.”

“We need a lot of improvements in this area so that we can notify our customers using more detailed weather forecasts,” he said.

State officials said that not only was Edison inconsistent in the way he reported shutoffs to customers, but Edison could be delayed minutes or hours in providing information to state agencies. They also said it was unclear what the threshold was for determining when and where power was cut off.

“There’s a complex process here designed to optimize the situation, keep people safe, and keep as many people online as possible,” says Payne. “But we are not currently explaining it in a transparent way to the people in the communities affected by it, so we will take it as our action item.”

During the meeting, a local political representative said that certain SCV communities were more affected than the rest of Los Angeles County, agreeing with many of the Commission’s points.

“Last week alone, we heard from more than 600 stakeholders that the PSPS event had a very serious impact on their lives,” R-Santa Clarita lawmaker Suzette Validares said in the public comment section of the conference. “The last 5 days, not the last 50 days.”

“We absolutely need to end this practice,” Republican Rep. Mike Garcia said in the public comment section of the conference as well. “We are more confident that the harm and risk posed by these shutdowns is actually greater than the harm and risk of a fire threat.”

According to Payne, the company has also completed an end-to-end review of its communications process and will work harder to help customers understand the potential need for PSPS.

“We know it’s far from perfect … and we’ve already made improvements in some areas, and there’s some work to be done in others,” he said.

State officials ask SoCal Edison about their ‘mistakes,’ ‘operational gaps’ during power shutoffs Source link State officials ask SoCal Edison about their ‘mistakes,’ ‘operational gaps’ during power shutoffs

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