SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A bill holding PG&E accountable for mass blackouts and the impacts they bring is headed to the Senate floor after passing out of the appropriations committee with a 4-2 vote on Thursday.
Senate Bill 378, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) will hold utilities, including PG&E, responsible for damage caused by the massive public safety power shutoffs that were implemented across the state last fall by requiring utilities to compensate those impacted by the blackouts.
On multiple occasions, millions of people were without power for several days as PG&E implemented the shutoffs as a way to help prevent wildfires.
Wiener’s office cites life-saving medical equipment and refrigerated medication being rendered useless, food being spoiled for food stamp recipients and small businesses being pushed to consider moving out of the state as reasons for the bill being drafted.
Sen. Wiener’s office said SB 378 is part of a larger package of legislation that will hold the utilities responsible for their behavior and will turn PG&E into a public utility.
SB 378, now headed to the Senate floor, is eligible for a vote as early as Monday, Jan. 27.
In a statement, Wiener said:
“It’s far past time we hold PG&E accountable for the harm it has caused the people of California. Rather than deal with its faulty equipment, PG&E levied mass blackouts on our state, which had serious consequences for millions, and especially for our most vulnerable communities – many of whom lived without power for days, with little or no warning. SB 378 will fine PG&E and other utilities for these blackouts, forcing them to take into account the costs of the shut-offs. While some blackouts are necessary, PG&E must be much more careful and sparing in implementing them. SB 378 will help keep our communities safer.”