Governor Urges PG&E To Provide Post Power Shutoff Customer Rebates
Sacramento, Ca — While PG&E promised customers it would not charge them for their time without power, the governor is calling for more.
Following last week’s power shutoffs that impacted nearly two million Californians, Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday demanded the utility be held accountable, urging it to provide affected customers an automatic credit or rebate of $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business as some compensation for their hardships.
Newsom also shared that he sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission confirming that it would be conducting a comprehensive inquiry and review into what he described as PG&E’s planning, implementation, and decision-making process failures.
The governor stated that Californians should not pay the price for decades of PG&E’s greed and neglect, criticizing the utility’s management of the power shutoffs as unacceptable, and additionally calling for the company to make radical changes that prioritize customers’ safety and modernization of its equipment.
As reported here, PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event was an unprecedented power down that affected close to 700,000 customers across 28 counties due to a forecasted “perfect storm” of fire-weather hazardous high wind and low humidity conditions. Nearly two million Californians whose lives were disrupted, which included the majority of Mother Lode area residents, subsequently spent multiple days without power, during which schools and many businesses were forced to close.
On Monday, California’s utility regulator issued a series of sanctions against PG&E for what she calls “failures in execution” during the largest planned power shutoff in state history to avoid wildfires. California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer says the utility must have a goal of restoring power within 12 hours instead of its current 48 hours, minimize the scale of outages, and improve communication.
PG&E acknowledged its execution was poor, including that its website frequently crashed, and many people said they did not know the power was going out. The utility has not yet commented on the sanctions.