SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — PG&E scaled back the Public Safety Power Shutoff event Wednesday, reducing the number of customers impacted by the latest power shutoff.

The utility decided to not cut power to more than 80,000 people in El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sierra and parts of Yuba Counties. Still, more than 48,000 customers were in the dark Wednesday night and approximately 14,000 were unsure if their power would stay on.

CBS13 investigator Julie Watts has been digging deeper into the cost of the power shutoffs for local cities, counties and public safety agencies. She submitted public records requests to about a half dozen jurisdictions and agencies Wednesday and found some, like the CHP, even have specific costs associated with the PSPS.

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We are still waiting to get the data back from most of the agencies we’ve reached out to, but we have learned Placer County has been keeping diligent records of their costs related to the PSPS. So far, the power shutoffs have cost the county nearly $300,000.

Public records show their overall labor costs associated with the power shutoffs total more than $140,000 and their time accrued totals over $20,000. The county has also paid out over $130,000 in salaries to people who could not come to work during forced closures because the offices and facilities did not have power.

They would have had to pay out some of these costs anyway, but the time would have been spent performing normal county work. Instead, the money went to things like emergency services, public works crews managing stoplights without power, and other related expenses.

CBS13 will continue to investigate the costs in other areas and for public safety agencies as the public records come in.

Julie Watts

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