Organization calls for utility regulator to replace PG&E leadership

California

SACRAMENTO, California (KTXL) — Pacific Gas & Electric was again defending their move to intentionally shut off power to thousands Wednesday as strong winds whipped across Northern California.

Meanwhile, state officials were monitoring the red flag conditions and how the power outages are affecting the various regions affected.

The governor’s Office of Emergency Services opened its Emergency Operations Center Tuesday.

“We understand how disruptive it can be to shut off power to our customers for safety and we really appreciate their patience as we go through this weather event,” said PG&E spokesperson Lynsey Paulo.

PG&E said this likely will not be the last time a Public Safety Power Shut-off is enacted.

“When the conditions warrant it, and again we don’t take this decision lightly, we will use the PSPS as a tool to keep our communities safe and prevent wildfires from starting,” Paulo said.

But some say there is a better way.

“The wrong way to prevent wildfires is to rely on shutting off power,” said Mark Toney, the executive director of The Utility Reform Network. “The right way to prevent wildfires is to trim trees inspect equipment, fireproof wires and poles.”

Toney’s organization is calling for the California Public Utilities Commission to replace PG&E leadership.

“If the current management is unable to give us safe power, the PUC should bring in somebody else to run the company,” Toney told FOX40.

PG&E said it is working to improve service.

“We’re increasing our situational awareness, so that means we have eyes on our system at all times looking for fire threat,” Paulo said. “And we’re making those repairs and making those upgrades to really harden our system and make it more client resilient.”

They’re even putting more lines underground.

“But it takes a very long time to underground a system, and it’s also very expensive,” Paulo explained.

But Toney said there are quicker solutions and PG&E has not been using its time or money wisely.

“There are a lot of things that can be done cost-effectively and quickly and PG&E has received money to do it,” he said. “They’re just behind the ball in getting it done. That’s why we’re facing these massive shut-offs right now.”

For local, national, and breaking news, and to get weather alerts, download our FREE mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don’t Miss

Win a trip to see Mel Robbins
Join the Pro Football Challenge
On the Trail: VR/360º
Bailey's Bites: On The Road
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
CBS47 On Your Side
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact Investigative Reporter Erik Rosales and let him be

On Your Side.

Email erikrosales@cbsfresno.com