UPDATED 8:50 AM PT — Tuesday, June 11, 2019
More than 25,000 customers in Northern California lost power over the weekend after utilities company PG&E went dark in preparation for wildfires. The first wildfire of the season ignited Saturday, leading the natural gas corporation to take proactive measures by cutting off electricity in hopes of keeping fires from getting out of hand.
PG&E patrolled power lines spanning over 800 miles, and looked for anything that could potentially be a fire hazard. As they shut off power, the company set up a call list to warn people to take necessary precautions for a power outage.
“We want customers to be prepared, make sure they have what they need, if they need medication that needs to be refrigerated, that they be prepared for that, or other types of things,” stated PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo ahead of the shut off. “Also make sure you keep in mind your elderly folks…your kids…your pets, and have any needs prepared for them as well.”
The decision to shut off power became a policy after the electric company was held responsible for the 2018 ‘Camp Fire,” which is now the deadliest wildfire in California history due to a malfunction from an almost 100-year-old tower. In early 2019, PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after lawsuits against the company held them liable for both the ‘Camp Fire’ and a separate wildfire from 2017.