Southern California Edison (SCE) will expedite its response to claims by customers who suffered an extended time without power during last week’s Long Beach outage, SCE President Pedro Pizarro said Tuesday.
In addition, he said SCE will provide a $100 bill credit to those customers who were without power for more than 24 hours.
“Please allow me to apologize for the extent and duration of the outage we experienced into this past weekend,” Pizarro told the Long Beach City Council at its meeting Tuesday. “I recognize the great inconvenience and concern this raised, not just for our residential and commercial customers, but for the city government and first responders.”
Pizarro said SCE will review the merits of each customer’s claim and provide a response within 30 days or less from when the claim is received. Due to the billing cycles, customers will see the $100 credit in their next bill or the one after it. The credits will be paid by shareholder money and not funded by SCE customers’ utility bill payments.
“We hope this demonstrates our commitment to our customers,” Pizarro said.
"I am incredibly proud of the response - the response from the city and the community and particularly the technicians at Edison who are doing really hard work," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
The outages began at 3:08 p.m. Wednesday in downtown Long Beach. Power for most customers was restored by late Friday, however, a small number of residents and businesses were without electricity until Sunday afternoon.
SCE has not determined the cause of the outages. They appear to be the result of failure of equipment in the underground system in the downtown area where several underground vaults were damaged. Underground systems are more difficult to evaluate, test and repair than overhead wires.
Pizarro noted that the extensive damage to the equipment caused by the fires on Wednesday, coupled with the fact that the equipment is located underground, complicated the restoration efforts.
"We are conducting a thorough evaluation of the outage and its cause," he said.
Customers can file a claim online, via mail at P.O. Box 900, Rosemead, CA 91770, by email to claims@SCE.com or by fax at 626-569-2573. The claim information is in English, Spanish, Chinese, Cambodian and Vietnamese.
Here are some important safety tips to remember for outages:
- Watch for traffic signals that may be out. Approach those intersections as four-way stops.
- Make sure you have a battery-operated radio and flashlights. Check the batteries to make sure they’re fresh. Use flashlights for lighting during a power outage. Do not use candles because they pose a significant fire hazard.
- If you use a generator, place it outdoors and plug individual appliances directly into the generator, using a heavy-duty extension cord. Connecting generators directly to household circuits creates “backfeed,” which is dangerous to repair crews.