US: Gov. Newsom slams PG&E over 'unacceptable' power outages and failure to fix systems - - PressFrom - US

US Gov. Newsom slams PG&E over 'unacceptable' power outages and failure to fix systems

06:25  11 october  2019
06:25  11 october  2019 Source:

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Comment: Completely unacceptable ': Anger as power company shuts off supply to 800,000 over Dana Dickey, a Shasta County resident, had her power shut off for three days recently after a BannerCap Oregon's Pacific Power has a very similar plan. Just say you are trying to fix things, then

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is shutting off power to hundreds of thousands of homes and Of those, PG & E accounted for just over half the total outage hours, although San Diego Gas & Electric Gavin Newsom signed into law this past July that would leave ratepayers in the position of having to pay for

LOS ANGELES - California Gov. Gavin Newsom tore into Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on Thursday, calling the mass power outages "unacceptable" and the result of the bankrupt utility's own long legacy of mistakes.

Gavin Newsom wearing a suit and tie: California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California justice department on September 18, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif.© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California justice department on September 18, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif.

"What's happened is unacceptable. And it's happened because of neglect. It's happened because of decisions that were deferred, delayed or not made by the largest investor-owned utility in the state of California and one of the largest in the nation," he said at a news conference. "This current operation is unacceptable. The current conditions and circumstances are unacceptable."

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Gov . Gavin Newsom said at a bill signing Wednesday that PG & E had focused for too long on its shareholders and not enough on customers. Understand need to prevent catastrophic firestorm but when this is over we must know why PG & E cast such a broad net + how long this tool will be used.

Gavin Newsom said of PG & E 's forced power shutoff in response to wildfire risk. By Wednesday, around 800,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers across California will have lost power as part of a company precaution during an approaching windstorm with low humidity ― two high wildfire risk factors.

For parts of Thursday, more than 1 million Californians remained without power after the state's largest utility shut off electricity in an attempt to prevent windblown power lines from sparking devastating wildfires. PG&E said late Thursday that 738,000 customers remained without power and that it was restoring service in many areas.

Newsom said PG&E's failure to maintain its system created the need for the outages.

"It's decisions that were not made that have led to this moment in PG&E's history and the state of California as it relates to our major investor-owned utility," Newsom said. "This is not, from my perspective, a climate change story as much as a story about greed and mismanagement over the course of decades. Neglect. A desire to advance not public safety but profits."

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The power shutoff from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in Northern California could last for days for PG & E officials, who had announced the pending power outage on Monday “I’m outraged because it didn’t have to happen,” Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters at a news conference in San Diego.

But Governor Gavin Newsom said people should be outraged. Outages extend beyond fire-prone areas. It could take as many as five days to restore power after the danger has passed because every inch of power line must be checked to make sure it is not damaged or in danger of sparking a blaze

Responding to widespread criticism over the blackouts, the utility's chief executive, Bill Johnson, said he was focused on PG&E's future, not it's past. He joined the company in April.

"I didn't come here to deal with the past. I came here to help improve the future," he said. "I haven't delved into all those matters."

Residents had already rushed to empty store shelves looking for batteries and water and had lined up for gas to prepare for the looming outage. They did laundry, ran dishwashers and vacuumed, fearful they would not have power for several days. Some stuffed refrigerators and freezers with ice so they would stay colder longer. Others emptied food into coolers.

But their lights stayed on, while their frustrations mounted.

The steady alerts that power would be shut off at specific times - only to have it remain on - proved more unnerving than the actual loss of electricity for some.

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Gavin Newsom is right there with the best of them, blaming the wreckers and hoarders for California's massive power outages , taking northern California California Gov . Gavin Newsom said Wednesday he's "outraged" over Pacific Gas and Electric Co shut-offs, blaming decades of mismanagement at

The store is in the PG & power outage zone but has backup generators and is staying open.Photo: Roland Bill Dodd slams PG & E : The state assemblyman from Napa called the blackouts “beyond This is a completely unacceptable state of affairs. While targeted blackouts can help prevent wildfires

Mary Carey, a lawyer who lives in a wooded East Bay community, compared the situation to knowing a "meteorite is on the way, but it won't hit for 12 hours."

Kevin Marker, 66, a retired businessman, had another take: "I think PG&E is just getting back at people."

By Thursday morning, the utility had finally turned off power to customers in Alameda, Alpine, Contra Costa, Mariposa, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties.

It also had restored power to about 125,000 customers across the state, including 74,000 in Humboldt County. Still, officials warned, more areas could see blackouts, depending on weather conditions. The utility is still considering cutting off about 4,000 customers in the southern portion of its coverage area in Kern County.

Fierce winds blew through several counties in Northern California on Thursday, the kind of gusts that bend treetops and cause cars to swerve.

In response, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for much of the region, cautioning residents to expect northerly winds between 15 and 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph, and very low daytime humidity. The warning is in effect through Friday.

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' PG & E clearly hasn’t made its system safe.' California lawmakers slam utility amid widespread There are numerous risks that come with long outages , especially to those who rely on power for medical California Gov . Gavin Newsom , who was in Oakland on Tuesday at a bill signing ceremony, said the

Gavin Newsom , PG & E , Power Outage , Power Outages , public safety power shutoff, Red Flag Warning, Wildfires. He said that determination is up to PG & E based on “their determination of what’s in the best interest of their customers in partnership and consultation with the Office of Emergency

The high winds and dry weather create ideal fire conditions, authorities warn, with the potential to transform a spark into a raging inferno. PG&E fears windblown electrical lines could spark fires if power is not cut.

About two hours north of Sacramento in Clearlake, residents entered their second full day without power. At the local Safeway, which had a generator to provide electricity, customers searched for ice and charcoal hoping to save or cook the groceries in their refrigerators.

At a nearby senior center, PG&E set up a charging station in a back room for cellphones and medical equipment. At least 150 people had visited on Wednesday, said representative Conrad Asper. By lunchtime Thursday, there had been more than 250.

Paul Spillane, 79, expressed what was a common sentiment at the center: frustration with PG&E.

"I think it's an outrage," he said of the blackouts. "I say it's the three most miserable days I've had since I've been up here. I haven't been eating properly or anything."

Amee Peterson, 66, said she feels so dirty from a lack of hot showers that she's considering boiling water on the barbecue to wash her hair. On Wednesday night, she ate cake for dinner because she couldn't cook. Peterson, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, fibromialgia and other conditions, said she received automated calls warning her of the blackout, but they were not specific. When the power cut out at 1 a.m. while she was reading a book she was surprised. Even more frustrating, she said, has been the lack of clarity on when power might return.

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California Governor Gavin Newsom isn’t one of them. PG & E ’s actions are necessary, Newsom , a Democrat, told reporters on Wednesday while visiting Los PG & E was forced to file for bankruptcy in January after its power lines ignited a series of deadly and devastating blazes, saddling the company

File photo of PG & E crew fixing lines downed in the Camp Fire © REUTERS / Elijah Nouvelage. The power cut is being implemented out of fears that unusually high winds could bring lines down Some made light of the impending power outage , saying that waiting for it “feels like waiting for the start of

"There is no idea when it's coming back on," she said

The utility has warned that some customers may be in the dark for up to five days, even after the winds subside, as the utility checks equipment and repairs fallen lines before restoring electricity.

The PG&E blackout marks the largest power shutoff to date as California utilities attempt to reduce the risk of wildfires that have charred thousands of acres, caused billions of dollars in damage and spurred cries for widespread change in how electricity is delivered over the state's aging grid.

Equipment malfunctions have been tied to some of the state's most destructive and deadliest fires, including the 2017 wine country blazes and last year's Camp fire, which devastated the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.

In January, PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, anticipating multibillion-dollar legal claims stemming from the Camp fire, which also destroyed nearly 14,000 homes. A month later, officials at the utility acknowledged that its equipment probably sparked that blaze.

At a news conference Wednesday evening, PG&E officials signaled that these types of massive shutoffs during fire season might be the new normal.

Sumeet Singh, vice president of PG&E's community wildfire safety program, said customers should anticipate similar shutdowns in the future until the utility has finished its wildfire safety plan, "unless the weather changes significantly and the vegetation condition and the fuel-loading condition, and land and the forest management changes significantly within the state."

California regulator sanctions utility over power outages

  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.

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., or PG & E , began shutting off power in phases early Wednesday to Gavin Newsom said in an appearance Wednesday in San Diego. Newsom agreed that PG & E likely Citing the large number of outages and the potential unknown damage, "we only know that it could

In Northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric said Thursday afternoon that it had begun restoring power to about 126,000 accounts. An account can be a single-family home or a large business, and generally represents about 2½ people.

"We understand that this power shutoff is difficult for our customers and communities. Please check on your neighbors, friends and family and know that we will work safely, and quickly as possible, to restore power across the region," Singh said.

The power shutoffs have prompted backlash, with some residents saying they create a whole new set of dangers as they try to keep up with news about fires. Critics worry that communications and evacuations will be hampered when the power is out, especially if traffic signals don't work and cellphone service is affected.

There also was concern about how those with health issues who rely on electrically powered medical equipment to stay alive would cope without power.

State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, said Thursday he sent a letter to the state Public Utilities Commission asking the panel to conduct a review of how PG&E decided which areas should lose power and how the blackouts were implemented.

"Many questions remain unanswered as the state reels from the consequences of this decision by PG&E, chief among them why is PG&E alone in making this decision?" Hill wrote to the commission.

The outage prompted the University of California, Berkeley to cancel classes for a second consecutive day. School officials say some buildings are running on generator power for "life safety, animal care and support of critical research infrastructure." However, the generators cannot power the entire campus.

The Oakland Zoo also remained closed after the region lost power overnight. The zoo had closed ahead of the planned blackout, and staff rushed out to purchase additional generators to power exhibits for animal safety. The gas they have will power the generators for about four days, Darren Minier, assistant director of animal care, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Southern California, residents have anxiously watched how the power shutdowns have affected other parts of the state, wondering if it was a glimpse of what was to come for them.

Southern California Edison on Thursday began preventive power outages across its service area. Given the strong Santa Ana winds forecast for the area, the utility said, power could be cut off to more than 173,000 customers in parts of nine counties in Southern and Central California: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, Ventura, Kern, Tulare, Inyo and Mono.


(Times staff writers Jaclyn Cosgrove, Anita Chabria and Patrick McGreevy contributed to this report.)

Visit the Los Angeles Times at

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