LADWP April 12th Power Outage and Surge

On April 12, 2017, at approximately 3:43 p.m. a vehicle struck and destroyed an LADWP power pole located on Santa Monica Boulevard southwest of Seward Street, resulting in a power outage that affected approximately 1,000 customers in the Hollywood Hills community. LADWP received reports of damage to the panels, meters and electrical appliances of some customers in the area due to a power surge that occurred as a result of the accident.

Information Regarding Power Pole Struck by Automobile and
Resulting Power Surge in Hollywood Area

On April 12, 2017, at approximately 3:43 p.m. a vehicle struck and destroyed an LADWP power pole located on Santa Monica Boulevard southwest of Seward Street, resulting in a power outage that affected approximately 1,000 customers in the Hollywood Hills community. LADWP received reports of damage to the panels, meters and electrical appliances of some customers in the area due to a power surge that occurred as a result of the accident.
At LADWP we take pride in providing reliable power to our customers, however unexpected outages can and do occur. In this case, the outage and resulting power surge was caused by a vehicle striking an LADWP power pole.

The pole struck by the vehicle was installed in 1946, had no history of being struck or damaged and was inspected less than one year ago and determined by the inspector to be sound. The configuration of the equipment on the pole included both a 34.5 kilovolt (34,500 volt) line and a 4.8 kilovolt (4,800 volt) line. The vehicle collision caused the higher voltage power lines on the pole to come into contact with the 4,800 volt power lines causing a voltage surge, momentarily sending a higher voltage of electricity through the line. Surges like this can damage sensitive electrical equipment in customers’ homes. In this case, the surge was a direct result of the car striking and severing the pole and the driver is the responsible party for any damages that resulted from his actions and the resulting accident.

While this surge damaged electrical equipment, we want to assure customers that it did not pose a safety hazard to customers in their homes. This is because higher voltage electricity running along power lines is converted or “stepped down” by electrical transformers serving small groups of homes. The surge of electricity momentarily increased the voltage served to their homes but was far less than a level that could cause injury.

Immediately following the incident, LADWP began an investigation into the incident to determine if there had been any operational or equipment failure. To date, no such failure has been identified and the sole cause of the outage and power surge, by all indications, was the vehicle colliding with the pole.

We have requested the vehicle accident report from the Los Angeles Police Department and have been informed that it is not complete at this time. When it is received, LADWP will provide the report to Councilmember Ryu’s office, as well as any customer who requests a copy.

Customers with claims for damaged electrical equipment at their homes should report this incident to their insurance carrier. This is the quickest route for appropriate assistance. Customers may also complete a LADWP Claim Form, which can be found online at www.ladwpnews.com, under Hot Topics. They can also request a claim form by calling 1-800-DIAL-DWP and speaking to a Customer Service Representative. We want to caution customers that in instances where outages or surges are the result of the actions of a third party – in this case a driver who struck and completely sheered the power pole – LADWP would be required to deny claims for damages arising from this incident. The responsible parties are the owner and operator of the vehicle that collided with the pole. LADWP is sympathetic concerning the impact the incident had on the community and affected customers, including appliances, food losses and inconvenience.

We also regret that in some instances customers who reported damages may have been provided inconsistent or incomplete information regarding LADWP’s claims process. We will be taking steps to improve internal coordination and communication to better guide and explain the claims process to customers when they call about an incident and wish to file a claim.


If any customer has a question regarding this information, please contact the LADWP Claims Section at 213-367-4600.


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