California Gov. Gavin Newsom demands PG&E compensate customers affected by power shutoffs

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom is demanding that PG&E provide customers affected by its planned power outages compensation for their hardships.

RELATED: California Public Utilities Commission sanctions PG&E over power outages

The governor's office announced Monday that it is urging the utility to provide customers an automatic credit or rebate of $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business.

He also sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission president confirming that the Commission will be conducting an inquiry and review of PG&E's planning, implementation and decision-making process failures.

RELATED: CEO Bill Johnson apologizes, responds to criticism of Public Safety Power Shutoff

Read the full letter to CPUC President Batjer here and to PG&E CEO William Johnson here.

"Californians should not pay the price for decades of PG&E's greed and neglect," said Governor Newsom. "PG&E's mismanagement of the power shutoffs experienced last week was unacceptable. We will continue to hold PG&E accountable to make radical changes - prioritizing the safety of Californians and modernizing its equipment."

PG&E CEO Bill Johnson issued a statment late Monday following Newsome letter defending their actions, in part saying, "While we recognize this was a hardship for millions of people throughout Northern and Central California, we made that decision to keep customers and communities safe. That was the right decision."

At its peak, the shutoffs impacted 737,000 customers statewide.

RELATED: Consumers can file a claim with PG&E, but will they get paid?

READ THE FULL STATMENT FROM PG&E BELOW:

"We've received the Governor's letter and appreciate its intent - to help make the State and all of us safer. First and most important, during the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), there were no catastrophic wildfires started. We welcome the review of our PSPS plan, practices and actions during the October 9-13 shutoff. We executed this event in accordance with our Wildfire Mitigation Plan as approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and under the guidelines of the CPUC's De-energization Order Instituting Rulemaking.

Before and during the event, we closely coordinated with the CPUC and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and CAL FIRE in our emergency operations center in San Francisco. Representatives from those agencies were embedded in our Emergency Operations Center and we welcomed and accepted their help and counsel, and PG&E employees were also embedded at Cal OES in Sacramento. We also worked closely with county and local officials throughout the PSPS. We know there are areas where we fell short of our commitment to serving our customers during this unprecedented event, both in our operations and in our customer communications, and we look forward to learning from these agencies how we can improve.

We appreciate the significant impact that turning off power for safety has on our customers and the state. While we recognize this was a hardship for millions of people throughout Northern and Central California, we made that decision to keep customers and communities safe. That was the right decision.

We share the state's focus on reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfires in California, and that's why we took this action. We welcome inquiry and feedback from all our stakeholders, including our regulators, lawmakers, customers and communities and will be reaching out to them for comment in the days and weeks ahead."


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