PG&E refuses to pay for most losses caused by massive power shutdowns

ByMichael Finney and Renee Koury KGO logo
Saturday, November 2, 2019
PG&E refuses to pay for most losses caused by massive power shutdowns
EMBED <>More Videos

Nearly 1 million PG&E customers across the Bay Area were plunged into darkness by the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- PG&E is going to give customers a one-time bill adjustment if they were part of the October 9 Public Safety Power Shutoff. But who qualifies -- and could that change?

PG&E says it is making a "Customer Satisfaction Adjustment" because of the information problems surrounding their "Public Safety Power Shutoff" on October 9. The shutoff sent thousands scrambling; some leaving the area, others buying generators or just waiting in the dark with flashlights.

ABC7 SPECIAL: 'Fire, Power, Wind: What Now?'

Some are asking, is it fair for PG&E customers to bear the cost of a shutdown, especially that first one, with all the confusion and lack of communication flowing from the utility to its customers?

Governor Gavin Newsom called on PG&E to reimburse customers and the utility agreed to pay residential customers $100 and business customers $250.

As Gov. Newsom stated on Wednesday: "While we were pleased that PG&E recognized their responsibility to the community by at least providing a baseline of support, I recognize it's a modest step with these credits-slash-rebates. We have an enormous amount of work to do to hold PG&E accountable."

The consumer group, TURN, The Utility Reform Network, says this is just barely a start. "The state should actually demand that PG&E reimburse customers for all of their damages, that is not likely to happen," said a TURN spokesperson.

Still, TURN is telling PG&E customers to keep track of out-of-pocket costs and file damage claims with PG&E. "Customers should not suffering in silence. They should speak out, they should file claims. We can't ignore the enormous cost of these shut offs," the TURN rep said.

But PG&E says it plans no future power shutdown payments, saying the state approved the shutoffs.

RELATED: PG&E agrees to rebates for residential, business customers affected by power shutoff

So why the payment for October 9?

PG&E says it is willing to make that payment because of issues with its informational website and call center, acknowledging customers went without communication and information. The utility left its customers literally and figuratively in the dark.

Those that have money coming will get it automatically on their bill over the next couple billing cycles. So if you are not reimbursed, what should you do? Well, this is fluid. PG&E may never pay another dime for any shut down... Or it might. So, keep receipts and notes so if payments are offered or ordered, you will be ready to go.

For the latest stories about PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.