The California Public Utilities Commission is conducting an investigation into prolonged power outages in the service area of Southern California Edison (SCE) following a recent windstorm.

“Our enforcement staff is looking into why the outages occurred and why it is taking so long for power to be restored,” said CPUC Executive Director Paul Clanon. “SCE has a duty to provide safe and reliable service to its customers and we have a duty to make sure SCE is doing all it can to fulfill that mandate.”

The CPUC is examining the cause of the outages, including pole failures and any other potential safety factors that contributed to the outages or their duration, as well as staffing levels and the length of time it is taking SCE to respond to safety related calls from its customers and the accuracy of information being conveyed. In an open letter today to its customers SCE acknowledged failure to meet its own goals for service restoration and provide accurate information to customers.

“We will determine whether SCE met all safety requirements and did all it could to prevent outages, and that it is now doing all it can to restore power and communicate with its customers,” said Clanon. “If we determine that SCE has violated safety rules, it may face fines and penalties.”

The CPUC expects to issue a preliminary report in January.