Claims mount from outage

first_img The multimillion-dollar modernization project, in which nearly 200 facilities are being upgraded over the course of the decade, is aimed at linking power system sites through a regional network, Martinez said. “This system will give us, over time, better intelligence and let us pinpoint problems,” he said. The design work for the modernization was done by Convergent Group Corp., which has since been acquired by Denver-based Enspiria Solutions Inc. An Enspiria spokesman declined to comment on the outage or the investigation. In the meantime, the DWP has paid 51 of the smaller claims that have been filed so far, at a cost of more than $17,000. Five have been denied, and the rest, which include many of the larger demands, remain under investigation. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has filed the largest claim, at $90,000. “When that power outage occurred apparently, it sent a huge surge to this transformer in our yard and shop area for the Gold Line, and it blew the transformer,” said Rick Jager, an MTA spokesman. The majority of the claims, though, are from individual residents and businesses from Van Nuys to San Pedro. David and Bonnie Nathanson of Encino are among numerous families who filed claims for damaged televisions. “When I turned it on at nine o’clock, it went pop,” Bonnie Nathanson said of the family’s plasma-screen TV. “It was gone for good.” The DWP is still investigating the couple’s $9,600 claim. Other residential claims allege broken computers, stereos, microwaves and DVD players, unruly sprinklers and air conditioners, and meat and dairy products ruined by downed refrigerators. On the business side, a Westside law firm filed a $10,000 claim for the cost of replacing its voice-mail system, while a hotel near LAX asked for $4,752 for burned electrical, elevator, telephone and Internet equipment. Tetsuya Takayama had to shut down his Sherman Oaks restaurant, Kuishimbo, at a peak time when the blackout struck about 12:30 p.m. “We have a big exhaust system and if I cook all the smoke goes out,” he said. “There’s no way we could operate so we had to close until the power came back.” Takayama filed a claim of $300 for lost lunch sales, attaching sales tax payment records as evidence. “It was more than that,” he said. “But I tried to be generous.” Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! From busted televisions and spoiled food to a blown transformer at a train yard, the DWP is facing scores of damage claims in connection with a Sept. 12 power outage that affected some 2 million residents. So far, more than 100 claims have been filed totaling more than $230,000 after nearly half of Los Angeles was left in the dark for more than two hours, according to records obtained by the Daily News. The volume of claims from the September blackout reflects the unusual scope of the incident, said Henry Martinez, chief operating officer of DWP’s power system. “We affected roughly more than two-thirds of the city in this one event,” he said. “So obviously the number of customers affected were huge and large, and from there the opportunities for damage claims will increase proportionately.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals The number of claims could grow even higher as affected parties have up to six months after an incident to file a claim. Meanwhile, the demands come in addition to about $600,000 in damage the outage caused to the Department of Water and Power’s infrastructure. DWP officials apologized after the incident, saying the outage resulted from a worker accidentally cutting two wires while performing a modernization upgrade at a facility in Toluca Lake. But after two subsequent smaller outages in October, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa instructed the Board of Water and Power Commissioners to arrange for an outside review of the power system. That probe, being conducted by Electric Power Group of Pasadena, is looking at the wider modernization project and whether outside firms involved in designing it may have any culpability for the outage. “The ratepayers, who ultimately will pay these claims, might have a recourse in recovering the costs,” said DWP Commissioner Nick Patsaouras, who requested the review. “As a professional electrical engineer, I was not satisfied by the explanation given by the department.” last_img read more