Southern California Edison pays $350,000 settlement for violating rules on super pollutant

Company failed to accurately report on use of extremely powerful global warming chemical

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Aug 27 – Southern California Edison (SCE) has paid penalties of $350,000 after admitting it failed for three years to accurately report on its storage and use of sulfur hexafluoride. The California Air Resources Board today announced a settlement with SCE imposing those penalties.

Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is a greenhouse gas (GHG) that can warm the atmosphere about 23,000 times more than the most common greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. SF6 is an insulator and circuit breaker used in electrical switchgear equipment. When it escapes, it can linger in the atmosphere for more than 3,000 years.

“SF6 is the most damaging greenhouse gas on earth – over 20,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so it must be handled and stored with extreme care,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard W. Corey. “Southern California Edison’s failures to accurately and completely report its handling of this material is the kind of violation that can make tracking the chemical’s impact much more difficult, and can set back California’s overall efforts to curb the worst impacts of climate change.”

The data issues arose from poor documentation of many pieces of small equipment, insufficient quality assurance and control processes, inadequate staff training, and misunderstanding of regulatory terms. Reporting violations occurred in several years consisting of multiple reports.

SCE agreed to pay a total of $350,000 in civil penalties for three reporting years SCE has fully cooperated with CARB in this matter. As a preventative effort, SCE has implemented new procedures to validate reporting requirements and to identify and address issues in advance of submitting annual reports.

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