Edison Vague about Point Dume Explosion

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Point Dume Explosion

An underground electrical explosion shook the Point Dume neighborhood and caused property damage on Wednesday of last week while also knocking out power to approximately 2,800 Edison customers in the area. 

Although a Southern California Edison investigation is underway, SCE spokespeople have refused to confirm that the incident that darkened a portion of the grid also resulted in what they classify as an explosion. The City of Malibu deemed it an explosion and several witnesses in the area said they heard it. 

According to SCE spokesperson Mark Olson, although there was a planned outage that day, some customers were not properly notified, resulting in “losses.” Most businesses in the Point Dume Village Shopping Center were forced to close and the Pavilions market relied on a backup generator to power a single cash register. 

“Some customers may have experienced a loss because of the outage or because of damage to the power,” Olson said at Monday’s Malibu City Council meeting. 

“Some customers did not get [a] postcard [notification], and that’s on us, it was a glitch in our system and we have our folks looking into that,” Olson stated. 

According to an aler t issued by the city, the explosion occurred near 29208 Heathercliff Road. 

“There was a small explosion in an underground electrical vault on Heathercliff Road near PCH. A small fire was quickly put out and fire department personnel remain on scene,” the city said, roughly a half hour after the incident occurred just before 12 p.m. 

“There were no injuries and no damage to homes. Power is out in the area,” the alert continued. 

A fire department spokesman at the scene said the fire was ignited by a spark caused by workers who had been on site all morning handling a repair as part of the planned outage. 

Edison then updated its outage list to show that 2,307 Malibu customers were without power as of 12:50 p.m. 

By the following afternoon, power had been restored to over 2,700 customers, leaving around 80 without power. 

The incident was deemed an “equipment failure,” according to SCE representative David Song, after employees had been working in the area. “From what I understand, there was not an explosion,” Song said. 

During a follow-up conversation with Song, he explained that although there has been an investigation launched, the power company is not concerned about an explosion in the area. 

“To us, whether there’s an explosion or not, it’s immaterial,” Song said. 

“We’re going to find out what equipment failed and why, but the bi-product of that failure I’m not sure we’re ever going to know,” Song added. 

At Monday evening’s City Council meeting, Olson confirmed the investigation. 

“We have the transformers that failed being taken apart by our engineers for further investigation, but the power was finally restored, the vault was completely replaced with all the equipment inside and is functioning properly,” Olson said.

Olson also detailed the claims process for reporting damage as a result of Wednesday’s outage. 

“We do have a claims process, it’s very easy, you can find it on sce. com or by calling 800.251.3311,” Olson said. 

Song refused to confirm how many claims have been filed, citing customer confidentiality. 

Jimy Tallal contributed to this report.