US: Wildfires rage in California as residents scramble without power - - PressFrom - US
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US Wildfires rage in California as residents scramble without power

15:33  10 october  2019
15:33  10 october  2019 Source:   cbsnews.com

California adds new rules for planned power shutoffs under laws signed by Newsom

  California adds new rules for planned power shutoffs under laws signed by Newsom Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Wednesday to tighten the rules for utility power shutoffs as California grapples with more frequent planned outages when potentially dangerous wildfire conditions exist.The new requirements call for investor-owned utilities to create plans to lessen the effects of outages on customers with sensitive medical needs and notify all emergency responders, healthcare providers and public safety groups within an outage area. The laws are among roughly two dozen bills related to wildfires that Newsom has signed into law this year.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Ken Pimlott called the Northern California wildfires , "a serious, critical and catastrophic event." Tens of thousands of residents have also been left without power as a result of fires destroying infrastructure. Smoke and ash from the fires has

A deliberate power outage by the state’s largest utility sent residents scrambling — and debating whether it was For many, the power shutdown was a reminder of how helpless they were without electricity. Of the 10 largest wildfires recorded in California , five have been in the last decade.

California faces a critical fire danger Thursday morning, as at least a half dozen wildfires burn across the state. Forecasters say high winds and low humidity are only increasing the risk.

Swaying trees and power lines would increase the wildfire threat — if the power wasn't already cut. But on Wednesday, the weather conditions prompted the state's largest power utility, PG&E, to preemptively shut off electricity to more than 700,000 customers.

Millions in California may be in the dark for a week if PG&E shuts off power due to fire potential, San Jose mayor says

  Millions in California may be in the dark for a week if PG&E shuts off power due to fire potential, San Jose mayor says Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced Monday it may shut off power this week in nearly 30 northern California counties in response to strong and dry winds posing a fire threat. © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 18: A view of the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) headquarters on June 18, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

California wildfires : Three major blazes — Camp, Woolsey and Hill fires — are raging across California . Our live coverage of the California wildfires has ended. Go here or scroll through the posts below to read Residents refused to leave because they were afraid they wouldn't be able to

With the blazes uncontained, authorities urge residents to heed evacuation notices.

Ron Blasingame, a resident who's trying to cope with the blackout, said he's regretting not buying a generator.

"They're gone," he said. "Nobody has those."

a sunset over a fire: Wildfires rage in California© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Wildfires rage in California

Blasingame said PG&E hasn't been doing its job to keep its infrastructure safe. "They haven't cleared the brush from their lines, but they want to pay dividends and give their executives money," he said. "It's a public utility — we're paying for that."

"What's your message to PGE?" asked CBS News national correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti.

"Do your job," Blasingame said. "Protect the public."

Many residents waited in long lines to fill their gas tanks, before the pumps lost electricity and shut down.

a car parked on the side of a road: California residents wait in long lines to fill gas tanks© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. California residents wait in long lines to fill gas tanks

Barry Friedman's home improvement store lost power, but he managed to keep it open by guiding customers by flashlight to purchase goods.

"There's a lot of people coming in here," Vigliotti said. "Is it fair to say some of them were caught off guard by this?"

"Oh for sure…" Friedman responded. "Unfortunately, we've run out of some of those products that they need."

Debbie Medina relies on her CPAP machine and oxygen generators to stay alive, and her condition prevents her from getting to community centers. "What are you going to do with people like myself?" she asked. "Because I know I'm not the only one."

Fixing this problem will cost a lot of money: PG&E said putting existing overhead lines in fire threat areas underground could cost as much as $110 billion.

California regulator sanctions utility over power outages .
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's utility regulator is issuing a series of sanctions against Pacific Gas and Electric for what it calls "failures in execution" during the largest planned power shut-off 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 last week took the unprecedented step of cutting power to more than 700,000 customers, affecting nearly 2 million Californians.

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