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PG&E responds to Gov. Newsom's demand for payments for those who lost power

Gov. Newsom is asking PG&E to pay the customers who lost power last week when the state's largest utility cut electricity to prevent wildfires.

Posted: Oct 14, 2019 4:25 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2019 8:04 AM

UPDATE: 4:16 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14 - PG&E Corp. CEO issues statement in response to Gov. Newsom asking PG&E to pay customers who lost power last week.

Below is the full statement from CEO Bill Johnson:

“We’ve received the Governor’s letter and appreciate its intent – to help make the State and all of us safer. First and most important, during the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), there were no catastrophic wildfires started. We welcome the review of our PSPS plan, practices and actions during the October 9-13 shutoff. We executed this event in accordance with our Wildfire Mitigation Plan as approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and under the guidelines of the CPUC’s De-energization Order Instituting Rulemaking.

Before and during the event, we closely coordinated with the CPUC and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and CAL FIRE in our emergency operations center in San Francisco. Representatives from those agencies were embedded in our Emergency Operations Center and we welcomed and accepted their help and counsel, and PG&E employees were also embedded at Cal OES in Sacramento. We also worked closely with county and local officials throughout the PSPS. We know there are areas where we fell short of our commitment to serving our customers during this unprecedented event, both in our operations and in our customer communications, and we look forward to learning from these agencies how we can improve.

We appreciate the significant impact that turning off power for safety has on our customers and the state. While we recognize this was a hardship for millions of people throughout Northern and Central California, we made that decision to keep customers and communities safe. That was the right decision.
We share the state’s focus on reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfires in California, and that’s why we took this action. We welcome inquiry and feedback from all our stakeholders, including our regulators, lawmakers, customers and communities and will be reaching out to them for comment in the days and weeks ahead.”

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Latest on California power shutoffs to prevent wildfires (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking Pacific Gas & Electric Co., to pay the customers who lost power last week when the state's largest utility cut electricity to prevent wildfires.

The Democratic governor sent a letter Monday asking PG&E chief executive Bill Johnson to provide a bill credit or rebate worth $100 for residential customers and $250 for small businesses.

Newsom says the shutoffs affected too many customers for too long, and it's clear PG&E implemented them "with astounding neglect and lack of preparation." He says that before the shutoff PG&E executives rejected offers of help from state and local emergency managers.

PG&E officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The shutoff affected about 2 million people in 35 counties.

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