Utility hints at possible power outage in California


A National Weather Service red flag warning has been issued for the hills, meaning there is a high fire risk in the area.

Utility CEO Bill Johnson made the comments Monday in testimony before a California legislative committee that also detailed a series of major shutdowns in recent weeks that left millions of people without power.

These planned outages could continue for a decade, PG&E chief executive Bill Johnson said during a California Public Utilities Commission meeting last month.

The mass blackout will be the fourth imposed by Pacific Gas & Electric Co, a unit of PG&E Corp, since October 9, when about 730,000 customers were left in the dark as a preventive measure called a "public safety power shutoff".

San Francisco: The San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has said that strong winds could lead to another power outage in Northern California this week.

Johnson says the utility focused more on the outage itself and did not take into account the impact it would have on people's lives.

With strong winds in the forecast, the company could shut off power again later this week.

Johnson told lawmakers that PG&E has spent $30 billion over the last 10 years improving its electrical network.

"We do not expect an annual repeat of what we went through this October", Johnson said.

Monning said PG&E has not buried its power lines in fire-prone areas to "save money for shareholders". "That just can not happen again". In addition to PG&E, utility company Southern California Edison has also turned off power in the past in affected areas. In 2012, he said less than 15% of its power lines traversed areas at high risk for wildfires.

The PG&E is facing up to 30 billion USA dollars in wildfire liabilities after it filed for bankruptcy protection in January this year, following lawsuits brought by victims of deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018 in Northern California.

"I imagine you will see us undergrounding noticeably additional of our procedure", Johnson claimed.

California regulators have ordered PG&E to say why it should not be sanctioned for violating state rules regarding such shutoffs. The company has more than 5 million customers in Northern California.

Lawmakers have set a June 30 deadline for PG&E to come up from private chapter or else forfeit participation in a fund constructed to help cope with damages from potential wildfires.

A federal bankruptcy judge has appointed a mediator to try to resolve the case. But Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has threatened to intervene if the business just can not reach an settlement by June 30, such as a prospective condition takeover.