California’s power crisis sparks new wave of speculation about how politicians could respond

Some northern counties could see safety power outages this weekend due to fire risk, PG&E says

This article is more than 2 years old

This article is more than 2 years old

Two dozen California counties could experience power outages this weekend due to a severe fire risk, according to the state’s largest electricity provider.

The warning, from Pacific Gas and Electric, came as the utility and other companies scrambled to contain wildfires that have destroyed scores of homes and businesses in an exodus of thousands of residents from fire-ravaged neighborhoods.

California’s main utility, which serves nearly 40 million people, said that its system remained stable after Friday’s firestorm, but was unable to predict the extent of any power outages and was offering early restoration estimates.

That is especially true for rural areas that have limited or no power lines, like those in the Sacramento area.

“We are making every effort to restore power and protect our customers,” said John Nelson, a company spokesman, adding that PG&E would provide an early assessment by 4pm on Friday.

PG&E reported outages on Friday for more than 50,000 customers served in seven Northern and Central Valley counties, with the bulk of calls coming from the Butte County seat of Butte.

PG&E, the only distributor of electricity in the state, is under significant stress to restore services after Friday’s blazes, and an estimated 4,000 people are still displaced from the evacuation zone and are being helped by local officials.

California’s power crisis has sparked a fresh wave of speculation about how the state’s political leaders could respond. Some have said they want the lights to stay on in the Golden State by using federal bailout money. Others have advocated for the state to impose mandatory curfews on its residents and order grocery stores to close, as well as an extension of the state’s emergency declaration beyond the current deadline of Friday. On Sunday, California governor Gavin Newsom announced a state of emergency.

In an email to Guardian readers, PG&E president Bill Johnson said the company

Leave a Comment