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Beach outages may soon pass for residents

Power company will upgrade equipment
April 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Residents in two beach cities fed up with flickering lights, frequent blackouts and nasty electrical surges may get some relief, now that the Southern California Edison Co. has promised in writing to spend $2 million to upgrade equipment in the area, it was reported today. Manhattan Beach and El Segundo leaders had gone to the state legislature and sparked a proposed law that would punish utility companies with an abysmal service record similar to what has been happening in those cities in recent years, the Daily Breeze reported.

Customers have a litany of stories of frequent and lengthy power outages, and a surge last January damaged numerous electrical appliances. Some 20 power outages struck Manhattan Beach's 33,000 or so residents last year alone.

Edison officials have asked local state Assemblyman Ted Lieu to put a hold on his punishment bill, and have promised in writing to replace aging poles, lines and transformers.

"I will tell you I have seen more Edison trucks on the streets of El Segundo in the last two weeks than I have in the last six months," El Segundo Mayor Kelly McDowell told the Daily Breeze.

An Edison executive told local leaders in a letter that the investor- owned utility has started a three-tier program to replace old equipment and install remote switching gear that will allow systems engineers to bypass problem areas when necessary.

"We are confidant that replacing aged equipment, increasing system robustness and improving system response to events will improve electric system reliability," wrote Edison executive Leslie Starck in a letter obtained by the paper.

Edison's service record in the South Bay came under fire from utility watchdog groups because the company was collecting bonus payments for a stellar service record authorized by the state Public Utilities Commission, that was later found to be based in inaccurate data collected by the utility.

 

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