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Southern California Edison in the Hot Seat

It took the utility more than a week to restore full service to customers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The power is back on, but the investigations are just starting. Late last month, hurricane winds hit the San Gabriel Valley and the Foothill communities. Some 400,000 Southern California Edison customers were without power for days. Southern California Edison President Ronald Litzinger talks about what went wrong and the lessons learned from this historic event. (Published Saturday, Dec 10, 2011)

    The lights are back on but the investigation into Southern California Edison's response to last week's powerful wind storms that knocked out power to thousands of residents is just beginning.

    More than 434,000 customer accounts -- representing businesses, schools or residences -- were blacked out in Edison's service territory, and it took the utility more than a week to restore full service.

    Now officials are demanding to know why.

    "We had a very large wind event. It was basically hurricane force winds in Southern California in access of 100mph," said Ronald Litzinger, President of Southern California Edison. "We went absolutely as fast as we could. It took much longer than we expected. We understand that customers were very frustrated by that."

    Litzinger said the utility struggled to come up with an accurate restoration times and many customers who called were either stuck on hold or were frustrated by a complicated computerized phone system and could not reach service representatives.

    "I think the communications we had with customers keeping them informed and appraised of where we were in the restoration effort needs improvement and we understood their inconvenience and their frustration," Litzinger said.

    Litzinger sent out an apology letter to Edison customers earlier this week over the ordeal.

    "The main thing we have to do now moving forward is review all of our procedures and figure out how we're going to do better next time," he said.

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