Regulators vote to require wireless companies to provide backup power after many lost cell service in 2019 Kincade Fire

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Friday, July 17, 2020
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During Kincade Fire in Sonoma County last fall, hundreds of cell towers lost power, making it impossible for people to use their phones for emergencies. The California Public Utilities Commission is trying to change that.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- During Kincade Fire that burned 374 acres in Sonoma County last fall, hundreds of cell towers lost power, making it impossible for people to use their phones for emergencies.

RELATED: Kincade Fire: PG&E tower near ignition point of Sonoma County wildfire was not shut off, had broken equipment

On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to require wireless providers to have 72-hours of backup power.

The commission is also asking them to do a better job of working with emergency responders.

RELATED: New CA bill requires cell towers be powered during emergencies, power outages

Last fire season, more than a million people lost service during PG&E blackouts.

CAL FIRE announced Thursday the Kincade Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned by PG&E.