No U.S. utility has ever blacked out so many people on purpose. PG&E says it could knock out power to as much as an eighth of the state’s population for as long as five days when dangerously high winds arise. Communities likely to get shut off worry PG&E will put people in danger, especially the sick and elderly, and cause financial losses with slim hope of compensation.

In October, in a test run of sorts, PG&E for the first time cut power to several small communities over wildfire concerns, including the small Napa Valley town of Calistoga, for about two days. Emergency officials raced door-to-door to check on elderly residents, some of whom relied on electric medical devices. Grocers dumped spoiling inventory. Hotels lost business.

PG&E is “essentially shifting all of the burden, all of the losses onto everyone else,” said Dylan Feik, who was Calistoga city manager until earlier this month.

PG&E’s Radical Plan to Prevent Wildfires: Shut Down the Power Grid
IMHO a big part of the problem is environmental groups fight PG&E when the power company wants to trim trees back far enough away from the power lines to make it safe. Years ago on a easement cleanup job, there were protesters, environmentally leaning news channel people trying to stop us from doing this very thing. ( years ago i was part of a contract team) This may be a way PG&E, can get the public and government on board with allowing easement cleanup. or maybe a way to force release of liability, if folks want the power back on. PG&E has been sued by environmental groups and now are being sued by folks who lost everything due to forest fires. they are caught between a rock and a hard spot.
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Crying about fires and high rates but I don't see anyone giving up electricity. If PG&E charged the real cost that it would take to maintain the grid in tip top shape the consumer bill would be 10x higher.
Cali? Screw em'. They made their mess. I hope they enjoy the fruits of their collective stupidity.
It ain't just Cali.
Eugene couple alleges clearing of trees, plants caused emotional distress

And I have been saying for a long time. If they won't let you trim the right of way, shut the lines down until it is safe to start them back up. I was a Lineman for 20 years, many of those while I was stationed in California in the Air Force. I have seen first hand how those "environmental concerns" can mess up a well maintained electrical grid.
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