EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) – Amid frustration and anger over the massive power shutoffs, PG&E attempted to address community concerns Wednesday, one of which was whether we can expect future shutoffs.
“We understand the frustrations we heard from our customers,” said PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo. “At the end of the day, this program is about safety.”
PG&E has now cut power several times this year, leaving many CBS13 viewers wanting to know: Will shutting off power on windy days be the new normal?
“[There are] very specific things we’re looking for when we call a public safety shutoff,” said Merlo.
The move that disrupted daily life for hundreds of thousands also had some viewers in the foothills who were not experiencing high winds wondering why power in their area was shut off so early.
“We have to shut off certain areas because of the interconnected nature of the grid,” said Merlo. “So it’s completely likely that some customers may not see the severe conditions that we’re anticipating.”
Blackout conditions raised questions about the elderly and those with medical conditions who have devices that rely on power.
So how is PG&E looking out for them?
“Like all our other customers, we are sending them texts, phone calls and emails. But for those customers specifically, we’re asking them for a positive confirmation they’ve received our message,” said Merlo.
The blackouts could last up to a week for some customers – because even after weather conditions improve, PG&E crews have to go out and inspect the lines. That could take up to five days.
On the bright side, in some counties that restoration has already started.
By Thursday morning PG&E will have 33 resource centers available. The centers open at 8 a.m. and will provide restrooms, bottled water, electronic device charging and air-conditioned seating. Mobile resource stations (vans), when available, will provide bottled water, phone-charging and latest information for customers.