PG&E says system had 100 incidents of damage

Darnell Taylor
October 19, 2019

As of yet, no state of emergency has been declared, and Newsom has stated that the budget for the year has $75 million in funds earmarked for the up to 34 communities to be potentially affected by the shutoffs. Mayor Sam Liccardo said they expect some compensation from PG&E for the public cost.

Fast forward to this year.

The power blackouts in California are highlighting growing income disparity, with access to electricity increasingly available to those who can afford to pay. Governor Gavin Newsom has blasted PG&E over the shutoffs, saying the company should have been more surgical - and never would've been in this situation if it had invested in its infrastructure more heavily.

Californians say they understand the root of the dilemma. By no means does it resemble a company that will act in the interests of the millions of people who depend upon its services.

PG&E noted that the vast majority of customers who were affected by the PSPS were restored within 48 hours, and its crews are working hard to fix damaged facilities including downed power lines.

Though PG&E is a utility company with different interests from oil, gas or coal companies, much of the criticism from local Democrats about the utility has used similar language.

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The tactic is created to minimize fire risk in a state where increasingly sudden, severe changes in the weather have intensified the frequency of wildfire damage. Several mayors and other elected officials have questioned the necessity and the size of the PG&E power shutdown; the mayor of Nevada City organized a "light parade" to protest the shut-off.

It was the largest planned power outage of its kind in state history. The California Public Utilities Commission has also ordered PG&E to comply with a series of corrective actions. Batjer, too, was on the receiving end with Newsom telling the utility chief that her body should "require PG&E to evaluate additional steps it can take to assists residents, small businesses and critical providers with safe back-up power options, including back-up power for medical devices to better withstand temporary outages".

When 40,000 people took to the streets of San Francisco during the September 20 climate strike, one of the planned stops was in front of the PG&E headquarters.

Close to 50 people held a vigil October 11 outside PG&E's office in Oakland. PG&E's equipment has been responsible for a number of wildfires in California in recent years. Democrats described PG&E's actions as the result of rampant corporate greed that, they argued, kept the company from preparing for extreme weather associated with climate change.

Almost 40 years ago, at the height of the oil industries' imposed gasoline shortages and price hikes, Workers World Party launched a national campaign to demand "oil belongs to the people" and called for a worker takeover of the oil industry.

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