Anger as California as fires, blackouts plunge citizens into the dark ages
October 31, 2019
PG&E, overgrowth to blame for California fires, former state GOP chairman says
Former California Republican Party chairman Tom Del Beccaro discusses the possible reasons for the California wildfires.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As Pacific Gas & Electric deliberately shut off power to homes and businesses to prevent wildfires, it has failed to communicate with California officials, given conflicting accounts about when the lights would go out and advised people to get information "the old-fashioned way, through calling on a landline."
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The behemoth power company is still struggling to get it right, weeks after it first started plunging millions of people into darkness to prevent strong winds from toppling its power lines and igniting fires.
PG&E's widespread power outages have come in waves in October, sparking reprimands from state officials and growing anger as the blackouts stretch on for days in Northern California.
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Caught in the middle are millions of customers forced to endure without the needs of modern life. More than 500,000 people remained in the dark Wednesday, some since Saturday.
"Northern California residents are exhausted. They're fried. And this is completely unacceptable," said state Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat who represents vast swaths of areas still in the dark. "Californians deserve better from this utility."
Winds calmed down Wednesday, easing the dangerous fire conditions and allowing PG&E to shift its focus to getting the electricity back on.
But the pain moved south, where several fires broke out amid howling winds in the Los Angeles area and forced evacuations. Utilities in Southern California have shut off power to 250,000 people.
Two powerful windstorms have pounded Northern California in less than a week, prompting PG&E to shut off the lights three times in one week and four times this month. But its equipment still may have ignited a massive blaze in Sonoma County wine country that has destroyed 94 homes.