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California utility faces anger, mistrust over power outages: 'It is excessive'

Joseph Serna, Taryn Luna, Jaclyn Cosgrove and Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Even before this week, the power shutoffs generated debate, with some residents saying they create a whole new set of dangers for them as they try to watch for news about potential fires. There is also heightened concern for with health issues who rely on electronic medical equipment to stay alive.

Critics worry that communications and evacuations will be hampered if the power is out, especially if traffic signals don't work and cellphone service is affected.

Once the fire weather subsides, PG&E employees will inspect the grid on-site and electronically before turning the power back on, a company official said.

It took the utility less than a day to restore power to customers during a three-county shutoff last weekend and during another in September, the company said in a statement.

At a news conference Tuesday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf expressed concern over PG&E's timeline to restore power but said she was grateful they had been given time to prepare.

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"We expect PG&E to do everything to minimize the impact to residents," Schaaf said. "The idea of five days without electricity is devastating. We fully expect that to be a worst-case scenario."

(c)2019 Los Angeles Times

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