PG&E suffers backlash over power shutoff to prevent wildfires in California

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Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), the largest utility in California, is facing strong criticisms over its Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) to prevent wildfire.

State regulators are also investigating PG&E due to its mishandling of its first power shutoff that affected hundreds of thousands of Californians. The company announced on Wednesday that 179,000 customers in 17 counties will experience blackouts because of the dry, hot and windy weather forecast in those areas.

PG&E said such weather condition “poses a higher risk for damage and sparks on the electric system and rapid wildfire spread.”

Over the past several years, Californians are blaming PG&E and Southern California Edison, the state’s second-largest investor-owned utility particularly their equipment for some of the most destructive wildfires in the state.

The companies are now implementing preemptive power shutoffs to prevent future wildfires.  PG&E said Californians should expect rolling blackouts over the next ten years as it upgrades its electrical systems that can withstand more extreme weather conditions due to climate change.

Critics say PG&E power shutoffs threaten people’s lives

However, PG&E’s critics are saying that the blackouts are threatening people’s lives and shifting risk from the companies to the public.