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Redondo Residents Left With Questions After Power Surge

A week after a power surge that destroyed electronics, residents want to know who will fix the damage.

A week after a power surge in north Redondo Beach knocked out electronics and appliances, many residents are still wondering who is responsible for the damages and how everything will be paid for.

The power surge, which occurred Nov. 25 after a vehicle struck the tension line of a power pole near the intersection of Inglewood Avenue and 182nd Street, fried toasters, washing machines, computers and televisions, among other items. 

Figuring out who is responsible for the damage and who is entitled to a police report on the incident has been a complicated issue that Redondo Beach Police Chief Joe Leonardi said required consulting the city attorney.

According to Leonardi, in order to receive a redacted copy of the police report of the traffic accident, the vehicle code requires that a person be an involved party in the accident. Accordingly, requests by Patch to receive a copy of the police report were denied by the city late Friday afternoon.

"If you are either a driver or a passenger and you are either injured or have damaged property ... then you are entitled to a copy of the report," Leonardi explained. "It is releasable to people who are part of the accident."

However, figuring out who could be considered part of the Nov. 25 accident—and who could receive a copy of the police report—required an opinion from City Attorney Mike Webb.

"The question that we had to have answered is: 'Are these people who had damage to electronics a party to the collision?' ... Because it's not the collision itself that damaged their property, it is the effect on the Southern California Edison transmission pole that damaged their property," Leonardi said. "Normally, it is clear who the parties involved are—a car runs into a fence, we know who caused the damage and who suffered the damage."

Leonardi said the police department got the go-ahead from the city attorney on Thursday to include residents affected by the power surge as parties to the accident. In order to receive a copy of the report, however, those who suffered damage will first have to provide their information to the police.

"In order for people to get a copy of the report, they are going to have to become part of the report," Leonardi explained. "So that means they are going to have to provide their name, address, phone number—the normal information we would collect from a property owner ... They are going to have to list the property damage they say has occurred."

Leonardi said that the city is working to create a new form specifically for this incident and should be ready to be filled out early this week.

"There is no form that is made for this, so we are trying to make a form," Leonardi said. "If we just give them a blank piece of paper and say 'ok, fill this out,' we could get lines and lines of things that make absolutely no sense."

According to Leonardi, the new form will include an area to specifically list the make, model, and purchase cost of the damaged items.

"Something that makes them list it out on individual lines so that what they claim in damages is actually visible and identifiable," Leonardi said. "Otherwise, you could get just 'toaster.'"

The end goal, Leonardi said, is to have an official, organized and legible document that residents can use to make a claim for the damages and work with the insurance companies.

"They won't be able to move forward unless they have something that puts the information into a manageable context," said Leonardi. "We are trying to facilitate that if, in fact, somebody needs to do something with (the report), they can do it."

Leonardi said that those who wish to receive a copy of the report will need to visit the Redondo Beach police station at 401 Diamond St. in South Redondo Beach and fill out the new form listing their damages. Once that form is filled out, Leonardi said that affected parties will receive a redacted copy of the police report.

Leonardi was not immediately certain if there would be a fee for the report but said that any expenses incurred in getting a copy of the report can be included in an insurance claim.

The Traffic Accident

The traffic accident that caused the power surge and power outage for thousands of residents occurred approximately 300 feet east of Inglewood Avenue on 182nd Street in North Redondo Beach, according to police.

Leonardi said that the woman involved in the accident lost control of her 2003 Infiniti for unknown reasons and struck the metal tension line that is used to hold the power pole in place.

"It induced damage further up the pole and into the transformer, which was caused by the collision," Leonardi said.

Upon arrival at the scene police found the woman sitting in the front seat of an uninvolved party's car holding her infant child, who was also in the car during the collision. The right front bumper of the car was found in contact with the power pole tension line, Leonardi said.

There were no witnesses to the incident but Leonardi said that the woman showed no signs of intoxication. No injuries were reported.

Cheryl Gran December 11, 2012 at 08:16 PM
If anyone is expecting that Southern Cal Edison will pick up a tab or two for damages caused by this surge, I have to tell you, don't bother trying with them. Here is the "form" letter we received in response to our attempted claim, dated December 7, 2012. You may as well skip the bla, bla, bla and read the last paragraph where they blow us off. Thanks SCE, we just wanted to spend an additional $5,000 before Christmas on something that wasn't our fault. "Dear Ms. Grant: We recently received your claim. Thank you for the time and effort you dedicated to reporting the issue. Your request has been assigned to me for further research. Our research shows the loss you incurred was caused by a vehicle striking a utility pole. Once SCE was informed of the outage, our crew responded and performed repair work as quickly as was safely possible and restored service to many of our customers. However, due to the amount of damage our equipment sustained, it was not possible to restore service to all customers within a relatively short period of time. We value you as a customer, and we are disappointed when we are unable to resolve issues in a manner that is favorable to our customers. We hope you understand that because the outage was caused by circumstances outside our control, we are unable to cover your loss, and we respectfully deny your claim. Sincerely, Anna M. Torres"
Jean Shultz December 27, 2012 at 03:29 PM
We got the same letter sent to us in response to our claim for damages. So now what do we do. There must be hundreds of us with damage. What is our next step? Can anyone give us a direction to follow.? Can we get more info on this? Someone is responsible for this and it isn't the homeowners who had losses.
David Carey January 01, 2013 at 11:12 PM
We just received the same denial letter from SCE. We also just had the furnace repair company here for $600 worth of repairs, in addition to the other repairs already; washer, dishwasher, etc.. If anyone has any new info or the contact info for the driver of the car that caused the accident or her insurance info - we would be very appreciative.
Jean Shultz January 03, 2013 at 09:54 PM
I just spoke to the Police Department and we can get a copy of the accident report if we had damage do to this accident. They have a form for us to list items, with serial number, value, etc. ( pretty much the same as what we sent to Edison). The fee is reduced to $1.50 for the report. They want a record of all damage so you do need to go there and do this. I will tomorrow and I hope that you share this info with others who are also effected.
Jean Shultz February 06, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Has anyone else filed a claim with the insurance company who covers the women who is responsible for the accident on 11/25? I filed online, a waste of time. The agent called me and I faxed over another claim. Haven't read anything back and it's been a month. She was very helpful and seems to think that it's all Edison's fault. I do have a bit more info from her, but I don't want to put it out there, not sure who reads this. I would love to hear from others who are still dealing with this issue.
Jean Shultz February 06, 2013 at 11:27 PM
I meant to say, the agent WASN'T very helpful, not was.

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