Windstorm reform bill passes legislature

A windstorm-driven measure requiring power companies to update emergency plans and coordinate better with local governments has passed both houses of the state legislature and is awaiting consideration by the governor, according to Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D- La Cañada Flintridge.)

The bill would require the California Public Utilities Commission to set preparedness standards for utilities and compel utilities to meet with local agencies every two years.

Portantino introduced the bill after strong windstorms in the fall of 2011 knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of San Gabriel Valley residents, with some in the dark for a week. Southern California Edison was heavily criticized by Portantino and other lawmakers after the storms, and is still awaiting a PUC report that could result in financial penalties.

Portantino said he was excited to see the bill move forward Tuesday.

“Obviously our region was devastated by the windstorms. Everybody recognized that the utility should have been better prepared, and that communication was lacking,” he said. “What better way to prepare than to have utilities meet with the counties in which they serve.”

-- Bill Kisliuk, Times Community News

Twitter: @bkisliuk

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