Southern California Edison Co. was fined $170,000 by Ventura County for its failure to report that a number of its electrical substations in the county stored hazardous materials.
Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten announced Dec. 18 that his office filed and settled a civil law enforcement action against SCE. The settlement resolves allegations that SCE violated environmental protection laws requiring the filing of a hazardous materials business plan, or HMBP, for each of its Ventura County electrical transformer facilities.
California’s HMBP laws protect and inform emergency responders about hazardous materials stored at a business location. Filing an HMBP is meant to protect emergency responders by providing advance notice of potential risks associated with the release or ignition of hazardous materials that may be present at an emergency response scene.
SCE owns and operates 47 electrical substations in Ventura County that house transformers containing mineral oil. Mineral oil is combustible and requires specialized response techniques in the event of a fire or release. SCE started notifying authorities of the undisclosed facilities after discovering it had not submitted reports for many of its Ventura County facilities through a self-audit. All sites are now accounted for, according to a release from the district attorney’s office.
Under the final judgment, SCE was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution and disgorgement. The Ventura County Environmental Health Division will get $17,500, $5,000 will go to the Oxnard Fire-CUPA Division and $2,500 to the City of Ventura Fire Prevention Division. In addition, SCE was ordered to pay $120,000 in statutory investigation costs and civil penalties to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. SCE will be bound under the terms of a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future violations.