Monday, July 21, 2014

Taking 9 months when it should take just one--Privatize!

DWP Months Late Repairing Power System Defects  

By Mike Reicher, Jul. 19, 2014,

As lightning and high winds ripped through Sunland in April, live power lines snapped and fell at the intersection of Woodland Avenue and Foothill Boulevard. Exposed wires sparked and smoldered in the wet street.

Hundreds of homes lost power, and firefighters cordoned off the area before anyone was electrocuted.

Those sorts of conditions, experts say, are especially dangerous when broken electrical equipment is left unfixed for an extended time. Newly released work orders show just how long the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power waited to repair some of its highest-priority problems — delays state auditors criticized in May.

The agency took an average of nearly nine months to repair these electrical defects, despite an internal policy requiring they be completed within a month. The work orders detailed problems from severed ground wires, which could pose electrocution and fire risks, to broken cross-arms, which support high voltage lines.

George Karady, the power system chair professor at Arizona State University, said the conditions described in the work orders can be hazardous, but not always.

“If nobody can touch it, it is not so urgent,” he said about severed grounding wires. “But if it is broken at your nose, it is an immediate danger.”

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