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ROSEMEAD, Calif., May 20, 2013 — Southern California Edison (SCE) and the Safety and Enforcement Division of the California Public Utilities Commission have reached an agreement to settle an administrative proceeding relating to three utility poles that were involved in a 2007 Malibu wildfire.
Under the terms of the settlement, which requires commission approval, SCE would pay $37 million, $17 million of which will go toward safety enhancements of utility infrastructure in Malibu and the surrounding areas. The remaining money would go to the state’s General Fund.
SCE believes it is in the best interest of its stakeholders to resolve the dispute and move forward with the utility’s principal mission of providing safe, reliable and affordable electric service.
“Safety is a foundational principle at Southern California Edison and is a prerequisite to everything we do,” SCE President Ron Litzinger said. “We are working with the communication companies we share poles with throughout our service territory to better coordinate and improve pole loading practices. Our focus is on continually improving our process for loading, inspecting, maintaining and replacing poles to further protect the public and enhance electric service reliability.”
Customer rates will not be impacted by this agreement. Funding for the settlement will come solely from shareholders of the company. Because SCE had established a reserve in anticipation of the settlement, the agreement will not have a material impact on the company’s 2013 earnings.
Among other things, SCE acknowledges in the settlement that one of the three failed poles was overloaded by attached, third-party telecommunications equipment. SCE also acknowledges that responses to the commission’s investigation of the pole failures may have impaired the investigation and has taken steps to prevent this from happening in the future.
The settlement was submitted today to the administrative law judge assigned to the investigation of the 2007 Malibu wildfire for his review. Assuming approval by the administrative law judge, the final step will be to present the settlement proposal to the commission for approval.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.