Edison could use more days like this

Rare is the day that Southern California Edison gets high praise in La Cañada Flintridge. It is more common to hear residents and civic officials grumble about occasional power outages and an unresponsive bureaucracy.

But Edison came through for residents in recent weeks. In the middle of July, deteriorating and damaged underground power lines in and around Big Briar Way gave out, leaving dozens of homes in the dark. It was not the first time the neighborhood had experienced problems.

Residents circulated a petition and presented it to the La Cañada Flintridge City Council on Aug. 6, but were warned that the city has limited powers over the giant regional utility.

Yet Councilman Dave Spence arranged a meeting between Edison and residents, and about two weeks later an Edison official was at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge listening to complaints, explaining the problem and promising to get it fixed in the next few months.

Edison certainly has a lot on its plate. Its nuclear power plant in San Onofre was shut down in January and remains offline. The utility is also girding for a report from the California Public Utilities Commission about its poor response to the fall windstorms that knocked out power around the San Gabriel Valley.

Yet if Edison can respond swiftly to smaller emergencies and concerns, as it did here last month, it can go a long way toward improving its reputation among its customers.

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