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Utility Emergency Preparedness Bill Signed into Law

The law, which was inspired by SoCal Edison's response to the local windstorm in November, will require all utilities to update their emergency response plan every two years.

A state bill that would require all utilities to update their emergency response plan every two years has been signed into law, according to a release from Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who sponsored the bill.

The bill, AB 1650, was introduced as a response to the November wind storms that resulted in hundreds of thousands losing power, some for as much as a week.

A report released earlier this year by an independent consultant hired by Southern California Edison highlighted the utility's lack of preparedness for a storm event of the magnitude of the November windstorms, and said the utility could have fully restored power as much as two days faster if it had followed ideal procedures.

Portantino represents Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, Highland Park, South Pasadena, Monrovia, Arcadia and other San Gabriel Valley communities.

“We learned some things from the major wind disaster last December that change how we look at these events,” wrote Portantino in a release.  “Having utilities review their plans every two years will force better coordination, better service and better public safety.  Many ratepayers may not know that a portion of their utility bills is intended to pay for emergency preparedness; let’s make sure it does.”

In updating their plans every two years, utility officials would be required to hold disaster preparedness meetings with the counties and cities that they serve.  The bill would apply to all gas and electric utilities, not just Southern California Edison.

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