By Cameron Glenn

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS13)  — PG&E says it is offering backup batteries for some of its customers who rely on life-saving medical equipment that would otherwise not function during power shutoffs.

The batteries are available before, during, and after events when PG&E turns off power during severe weather to prevent wildfires, the utility says.

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The program is free of charge and provides backup portable batteries for qualified residential customers who live in high fire-threat districts and are enrolled in the company’s Medical Baseline program, which provides assistance people who depend on power for certain medical and independent-living needs.

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With the help of community-based organizations, PG&E has identified approximately 10,500 customers who could qualify for the batteries, it says.

“We are working with local organizations to provide portable batteries to customers who rely on medical equipment to live. We hope these batteries will help reduce fear and keep our customers safe before, during, and after a shutoff,” said Laurie Giammona, PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer.

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You can learn more about the program here.