Wind Storm Response: What Went Wrong in Temple City

Many people attend a Temple City hearing where SoCal Edison apologizes

More than 100 San Gabriel Valley residents packed into a Temple City High School auditorium Thursday afternoon, demanding an explanation from utility officials about last year's long power outages due to wind storms.

The residents wanted to know what went wrong when wind storms knocked down 211 Southern California Edison power poles, leaving more than 444,000 people without electricity for up to a week.

“We did not expect the power to be out for days," said Temple City resident Bryan Kan. "We wanted to get the power back.”

Edison kicked off its part in the hearing with an apology.

"Southern California Edison truly regrets the inconvenience caused by the storm and our service restoration estimates we were not able to meet,” said Edison President Ronald Litzinger.

A preliminary probe by state regulators with the Public Utilities Commission indicates that as many as one-third of the downed power poles were overloaded with cables and equipment. That's something that Edison was also accused of after their utility poles ignited the 2007 Malibu fires.

"We're going to probe deeper and deeper into that, through our safety division at the Public Utilities Commission. Ultimately they'll come up with a recommendation. It could end up with fines. It could end up with all kinds of different things for Edison," said Michael Peevey, President of the California Public Utilities Commission.

“Now all of a sudden they’re paying attention to utility safety in this state," said Malibu resident Hans Laetz. "It's late, overdue and I’m glad to see them doing it.”

Edison, for its part, has not conceded anything on the pole overloading issue. The company is disputing the Malibu allegations, and called for more investigation on what happened in the San Gabriel Valley.

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