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PG&E Fined For Mismanagement During Early PSPS Events

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Sacramento, CA — The California Public Utilities Commission is hitting PG&E with a $106 million fine for its handling of planned power outages in 2019.

That was the first year that the utility started preventatively turning off the electricity in an attempt to prevent its equipment from igniting wildfires. A series of outages that autumn caused unplanned issues and state regulators detailed the failings in an 89-page decision. It notably pointed out that PG&E’s website was ill-prepared and crashed numerous times due to the high demand. The company also failed to give proper warning to around 50,000 customers. In addition, very few of the workers had received training in the state’s disaster response playbook for carrying out the blackouts.

The decision announced yesterday will take effect in 30 days, barring any appeals or requests for additional review. The Associated Press indicates that PG&E will actually pay much less than $106-million to the state, because the company will be credited with $86-million that it was already mandated to be refunded to customers impacted during the 2019 outages.

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