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South Bay Outage May Revive Proposed Penalties For Utilities

TORRANCE ( — A South Bay lawmaker Tuesday sought to revive efforts to impose penalties on utility companies that have frequent outages in the same area.

KNX 1070's Megan Goldsby reports residents in Torrance and Manhattan Beach are still recovering from a weekend blackout that left more than 100,000 people in the dark.

South Bay Outage May Revive Proposed Penalties For Utilities

State Sen. Ted Lieu has since penned a public letter to Southern California Edison asking company officials to release data on infrastructure improvements made by the utility since 2008.

In 2008, Lieu dropped legislation proposing penalties if Edison couldn't keep the lights on after promises from the utility that it would address the issue.

"Five years ago, I drafted legislation to penalize utilities," Lieu said. "In exchange for Edison's word to fix the problem, I did not introduce that legislation.

"We're going to be looking at doing it again," he added.

Recurring outages have long plagued the South Bay area, with the most recent one on Sunday being blamed on a blown transformer in the area of 190th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard.

The outage was reportedly the largest in Edison's service area since a powerful 2011 windstorm in the San Gabriel Valley left an estimated 400,000 customers without power.

"Edison has been using excuses such as palm fronds and metallic balloons and squirrels, but these things happen all over Southern California and those cities keep their lights on," Lieu said.

Edison spokesman Steve Conroy said in response to Lieu's claims, the utility just completed a $2.2 million upgrade in the Rancho Palos Verdes area.

"We're replacing over 150 poles, nearly 60 underground transformers as well as almost three miles of overhead wire," Conroy said.

It was not immediately clear if the infrastructure improvements would be enough to stop Lieu from reintroducing his legislation.

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