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Governor Demands More Customer Warning And Limited Scope Regarding PG&E Power Shutoffs

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Sacramento, CA – With some in the state facing a second power blackout in as many weeks, Governor Gavin Newsom today demanded that PG&E do more to provide more information and reduce the number of customers impacted.

In a sharply worded letter to Bill Johnson, CEO of the utility, Governor Newsome charged, “While the immediate goal should be to better manage the current anticipated PSPS event, PG&E’s short-term objectives should include steps to ensure that as few people as possible are impacted by any future PSPS decision.”

Over 14,500 PG&E customers in Calaveras County will be impacted by this latest PSPS announced for Wednesday at 2 p.m., as reported here. Newsom also blamed the unprecedented mass outage earlier this month that impacted the Mother Lode on the company’s failure to maintain and upgrade its equipment.

“I believe the unacceptable scope and duration of the previous outage deliberately forcing 735,000 customers to endure power outages were the direct result of decades of PG&E prioritizing profit over public safety,” Newsom wrote that referring to the number of businesses and households affected, not the total number of people.

The company has denied that claim and says the outage was to protect lives and prevent catastrophic wildfires, as reported here during the earlier outage.  In the letter, the Governor also offered continued assistance from the state.

“I continue to extend the technical assistance currently offered by the State of California to reduce the impacts of PSPS, including operational guidance from Cal OES, meteorological data from CALFIRE, and most recently, infrared-equipped aircraft to assist in inspections of the power line safety and the acceleration of power restoration,” wrote the Governor. “Cal OES will activate State and Regional Operations Centers to respond appropriately and ensure continuity of state agency operations that support California residents.”

The governor reiterated his push for PG&E to provide affected customers an automatic credit or rebate of $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business as some compensation for hardships endured during the outage earlier this month. To view the governor’s entire letter, click here.

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