SAN JOSE (KPIX) — The massive PG&E public safety power outage has cost the city of San Jose about a half million dollars and that amount is expected to climb, mayor Sam Liccardo said on Thursday.
“We’re going to continue to press that issue and expect that there will be some compensation from PG&E for the considerable public costs,” he said.
The costs are from paying city staff overtime as well as costs for fueling generators.
The majority of the estimated 20,000 impacted PG&E accounts in San Jose had their power restored Thursday after losing it around 11:15 the night before, according to Liccardo.
The city tweeted that 99% of the affected residents would have their electricity turned back on by Friday.
“We critically need to ensure that these power shutdowns do not last more than a few hours,” Liccardo said.
The outage sent many scrambling to buy supplies and generators to prepare for life without electricity for several days after PG&E said it could take as many as five to seven days to restore power.
Arthur Aragon bought a generator to charge his wheelchair and power the ventilator he uses at night for his sleep apnea.
“Without it I stop breathing,” he said.
Aragon turned on his generator as soon as the power went out, but he said a few hours later it suddenly turned off.
“I stopped breathing so I woke up, I was coughing and I had to sit up and catch my breath,” he said. “I stopped breathing maybe about a dozen times.”
Aragon lives at the Veteran’s Housing Facility on Kirk Avenue with 104 other veterans.
The staff at the facility said they spent nearly $1500 to rent an outdoor refrigerator and generator to save hundreds of pounds of food.
Aragon said he spent nearly $200 on his generator and supplies.
“There was no strong winds and they still shut off the power,” said Aragon.
The power may be restored but not their faith in PG&E to correct what many feel was a wrong decision.
“I think it was a rush to judgment,” Aragon said. “There are a lot of people that are very angry about it.”