Edison Reviewing Wire Contact Before Start of Woolsey Wildfire

(Bloomberg) -- Edison International’s Southern California utility is evaluating whether a power failure near the start of the Woolsey Fire last month was related to contact between wires.

Edison said its crews found a guy wire, used to support power poles, near a so-called jumper, which connects two energized lines, at a circuit that failed ahead of the blaze, according to a statement Thursday. No live wires were found on the ground at the site. The utility also submitted a letter to state regulators detailing its findings to supplement an earlier report that had noted the power failure.

Edison Reviewing Wire Contact Before Start of Woolsey Wildfire

State investigators haven’t determined the cause of the Woolsey fire and Edison said the cause of the outage on its circuit also hasn’t been determined.

The disclosure comes as Edison is facing increased scrutiny for the wildfire that tore through tony neighborhoods of the seaside town of Malibu last month, burning about 100,000 acres (405 square-kilometers) and destroying 1,500 structures. Malibu residents are suing the utility, alleging that Edison’s equipment triggered the Woolsey blaze.

Edison has lost about 17 percent of its market value since the Nov. 8 start of the Southern California fire on investor concern that it could be held liable.

Edison said that it wouldn’t be able to fully understand what happened with its equipment until additional information is made available, including details that can only be obtained through examination and testing of equipment taken by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of its ongoing probe.

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