SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP) – Over one million Californians were left in the dark earlier this month during the Pacific Gas and Electric power shutoff, and now hundreds of thousands more in the Bay Area and Foothills are facing the same fate as fire weather moves across Northern Calfornia.
Governor Gavin Newsom is calling on PG&E to take steps to better inform customers and reduce the impact of the Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) that, amongst other things, led to business and property losses.
“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,” wrote Governor Newsom in his letter to PG&E CEO William Johnson today.
Newsom urged the utility to implement changes given to them by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which include restoring power within 12 hours, not the utility’s current 48-hour goal; work harder to avoid such large-scale outages; develop get a better system for distributing outage maps; and work with emergency personnel to ensure PG&E staff are sufficiently trained.
Newsom also committed the state’s support in the form of forecasting technology, aircraft equipment, and personnel.
“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 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.”
Newsom urged PG&E to provide affected customers with compensation for their hardships by giving an automatic credit or rebate of $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business.