Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E) has imposed unprecedented shutoffs leaving millions without power.
The shutdowns are safety precaution to prevent wildfires. California Governor Gavin Newsom said the widespread electricity shutdown is “unacceptable.”
“We’re seeing a scale and scope of something that no state in the 21st century should experience,” Newsom said. “What’s happened is unacceptable and it’s happened because of neglect.”
The remarks were the most pointed comments Newsom has directed at PG&E since the outages began early on Wednesday. Among the questions he raised was whether the utility is too large, with a service area covering more than 40 counties.
He also faulted PG&E for putting what he called “greed” ahead of investments.
PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January 2019, citing potential civil liabilities in excess of $30 billion from major wildfires linked to its transmission wires and other equipment.
PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson acknowledged that his company had left “millions of people” without a “fundamental service” they expect and deserve.
“This is not how we want to serve you,” he told a media briefing in San Francisco, adding that PG&E “was not adequately prepared” for such a large power outage.
“Northern California is not a Third World country,” the San Jose Mercury Statesman said in an editorial. “It’s unacceptable that the region is being forced to endure this level of disruption as the long-term strategy for dealing with the threat of wildfires.”
Red Flag Alert
The National Weather Service has a "Red Flag Fire Alert" for the hot dry "Diablo Winds" that seasonally occur this time of year.
Food spoilage will be massive due to the shutdowns.
Fire in 2017 killed scores of people and the now bankrupt PG&E does not want a repeat.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock