- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) enforcement division ordered Southern California Edison (SCE) to conduct an "extraordinary" investigation of its electrical grid under the City of Long Beach after several recent power outages caused by fires and explosions in underground vaults.
- The CPUC gave SCE 30 days to do a detailed inspection and repoert of its Long Beach grid. The inspection is specifically intended to reveal the cause of a mid-July outage that left some in Long Beach without electricity for five days, the longest the City has been without power in 60 years.
- Repair was slow because the Long Beach grid was built with a loop of electrical lines so if a line fails there, power can flow through other circuits. But the only way SCE workers could identify the cause of the problem was by a trial and error process of switching lines on and off.
The July 15 outage began when a cable splice in an underground vault near downtown Long Beach caused the vault to explode. That set off a chain of other vault explosions. Manhole covers flew into the air. An estimated 22,000 customers lost power that day. By the second day there were only 6,500 without service, but it took five days to restore power to all of them.
At an August 22 town hall meeting, a Long Beach Fire Department Deputy Chief said poor communication from SCE hampered efforts of first responders to the July 15 outage.
A separate July 30 outage left over 17,000 customers without power. Some remained offline three days. An August 27 outage, caused by an underground vault fire, shut off service to 2,735 customers for an hour. An August 30-31 power outage shut down power to several hundred customers for a few hours.