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SoCal Edison customers restored, dozens in Pasadena still w/out power

December 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Southern California Edison has restored power to all of its customers following last week's powerful windstorm. But crews are still getting the last homes back online in Pasadena.

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About 75 Pasadena Water and Power customers are still affected. Crews have been working 36-hour shifts in order to make necessary repairs to damaged power lines.

"I am not offering excuses, I am just telling you this has been very tough," said Phyllis Currie from Pasadena Water and Power. "This has been a very unusual situation, but we are going to take care of it."

Crews in Pasadena have been getting help from nearby cities, including Burbank and other DWP crews. They are hoping to have all power restored by Sunday.

Meanwhile, there are updated numbers regarding last week's windstorm. More than 643,000 homes and businesses were without power. SCE reported 430,000 customers were affected, Los Angeles DWP had 205,000 without power, and Pasadena Water and Power reported close to 6,000 customers at their peak.

SCE's president issued an apology to the customers who went for nearly a week without electricity. They said thousands of downed trees from the hurricane-force winds hampered efforts to restore power.

The company apologized for setting ambitious restoration goals that were not met. It said crews from neighboring cities helped make repairs around the clock.

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"We tried to allocate resources so that the most good can be done for the most people the soonest," said David Van Iderstine of SCE.

Residents who were going on their eighth day without power said they were trying to be as patient as possible.

"There are people who have to be first. Somebody's got to be last, so I guess we're part of the last contingent," said Pasadena resident Richard Davis. "You just have to make do."

The cleanup work will continue across the San Gabriel Valley, where tree branches and cables still litter the streets.

See safety tips to follow in case of a power outage.

Meantime, the California Public Utilities Commission launched an investigation into why it took so long to get the power back. It will be examining whether SCE did everything it could and if all safety requirements were met.

"What I want to say to the people of Southern California is that SoCal Edison has an obligation to provide safe and reliable service," said Executive Director Paul Clanon. "We at the Public Utilities Commission are going to use our authority to the max to make sure that Edison is doing what it needs to do."

A report will be issued next month. SCE said it will fully cooperate with the investigation. The utility company could face fines and penalties if the commission determines it violated any safety rules.

Meanwhile, the city of Pasadena wants residents and business owners to report their storm-related costs to the county in an effort to get state and federal assistance.

For those whose property was damaged from the winds, they may be entitled to a temporary tax break if the damage exceeds $10,000. You'll need to file a claim within a year from now.

Residents can report wind-related damages to the L.A. County Office of Emergency Management's disaster hotline at 211 or (800) 980-4990.

See photos of wind damage across Southern California.

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