Gov. Gavin Newsom calls on PG&E to refund Californians for shutdowns

California Gov. Gavin Newsom called on Pacific Gas and Electric to issue rebates to customers following planned power shutdowns. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

Oct. 15 (UPI) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday called for Pacific Electric and Gas to issue a rebate to customers, and state regulators suggested sanctions following planned power shutdowns last week.

In a letter to the state’s Public Utilities Commission, Newsom requested that it immediately conduct a “comprehensive inquiry and review” into the public safety power shutoff and provide affected residential customers with a $100 rebate as well as $250 for small businesses.

“Californians should not pay the price for decades of PG&E’s greed and neglect,” Newsom said. “PG&E’s mismanagement of the power shutoffs experienced last week was unacceptable. We will continue to hold PG&E accountable to make radical changes prioritizing the safety of Californians and modernizing its equipment.”

PUC President Marybel Bajter sent a letter to PG&E’s CEO, Bill Johnson, summoning the utility’s executives to a meeting in San Francisco next week.

Bajter also issued a series of actions for PG&E to take, including scaling business operations, consulting with counties and tribal governments and shortening the amount of time customers are without electricity.

“The scope, scale, complexity and overall impact to people’s lives, businesses and the economy of this action cannot be understated,” Batjer said. “Failures in execution, combined with the magnitude of this power shutoff event, created an unacceptable situation that should never be repeated.”

Last week Johnson apologized for the planned shutdowns, meant to prevent wildfires in the midst of high winds and dry weather, which affected more than 700,000 customers in the state.


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