OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Gov. Gavin Newsom said in Oakland on Tuesday that the estimated 800,000 customers across California who will be affected by a Public Safety Power Shutoff by PG&E starting on Wednesday should be “outraged” and “infuriated.”
The utility is planning the shut-off as a precaution due to high wildfire risk.
But Newsom, who spoke to reporters after he signed a rent cap measure at the West Oakland Senior Center, said the power shutoff “was anticipated many months ago and this is the (utility) industry’s best practice.”
Newsom said, “The determination of whether or not to do this is based on a number of factors,” including intense winds, low humidity and the areas that are near to windy areas.
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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 Services, CalFire and experts in this field.”
Newsom said, “This is all about public safety and saving lives. This is part of something we all knew was likely and would occur many months ago when PG&E finally woke up to their responsibility to keep people safe.”
However, the governor said the power shutoff “is not how things should work in the (utility) industry.”
He said, “None of us are happy about this.”
Newsom said, “We have an antiquated system at PG&E that needs to be upgraded.”
He said he hopes PG&E can emerge from bankruptcy by next June and start upgrades then.
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