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Windpocalypse's Price Tag: $40 Million and Counting

Photo courtesy of Karol Franks via Flickr
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Now that the lights are finally back on, local agencies are tallying up the damage wrought by last week's epic windstorm. Officials estimated that the storm caused $40 million in damage — half of that is in Pasadena, the epicenter of the storm — but they expect that grand total to rise.

The price tag includes $20 million in Pasadena, $10 million in Temple City, $5.6 million in San Marino, $4 million in Monrovia and $1 million in South Pasadena, according to the Los Angeles Times. Those numbers include estimates of trees that crushed homes, apartment buildings, cars and power lines. It does not include estimates from Northeastern Los Angeles or other cities or towns in the San Gabriel Valley, like Arcadia, Sierra Madre or Altadena that were also hit hard. (For some perspective on a so-called apocalyptic event, keep in mind that officials estimated that the 1994 Northridge earthquake damage cost $20 to $40 billion.)

State emergency management officials were in Southern California today surveying this windswept landscape, working with local officials and asking questions about why it took Edison almost a week to turn the power back on. The company could see fines.

"Our investigation into Edison's outages were initiated because of the amount of customers who lost power and the length of the outages, as well as Edison's apparent issues in communicating accurate information to its customers," CPUC spokeswoman Terrie Prosper wrote to the Pasadena Star-News in an email. "If Edison is found to have violated regulations and is ultimately fined by the CPUC, the fine amount is up to $50,000 per day per violation."

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Some customers had really frustrating experiences with the company. Damon Lieu of Arcadia told the Star-News that he called up Edison on Wednesday morning (almost a week after the storm) only to be told he was supposed to report his outage: "I don't know if (the customer service representative) was clueless or confused but she said 'You didn't report your outage.' I said, 'Well, most of Arcadia lost its power Wednesday night. Do all 400,000 of us in the area that lost our power need to report that?"'