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SoCalEd to pay $8M for low-hanging power line that injured 3

Southern California Edison Co. will pay an $8 million penalty related to an August 2015 electric safety violation in Twentynine Palms, Calif., the California Public Utilities Commission disclosed Oct. 16.

The latest penalty replaces a $300,000 citation issued to the Edison International subsidiary in February.

A CPUC staff investigation determined that a cross-arm on one of Edison's poles broke, resulting in a 12-kV overhead line being suspended less than eight feet above the ground. A person was injured when he struck the power line while riding an off-road vehicle, and two people who tried to help him were injured.

The utility violated CPUC rules by failing to ensure the cross-arm was capable of withstanding normal conditions in the area. In a Sept. 29 report, the commission described additional violations regarding a missing nut that would have kept the insulator in place that supported the power line.

The utility has since repaired the infrastructure. SoCalEd can either pay the fine or file an appeal within 30 days.