Millions Are Out of Power in California, But Were the PG&E Shutoffs Necessary?

October 2019


In October 2019, PG&E shut-off power to more than 2 million people in an attempt to avoid starting wildfires. Severin Borenstein spoke to PBS about the utility’s incentives and why its customers were surprised.

“‘Transmission lines are the huge, stories-high power lines that act as power superhighways — as opposed to local distribution lines on wooden poles, which branch down into a city or town. Once PG&E cut power to transmission lines, it shut down power to places which are not particularly fire prone’, Borenstein said. Even though PG&E had issued past warnings about massive shutoffs to its 16 million customers, the company had only conducted them in rural areas up until Wednesday. ‘So some people were caught off guard thinking that this couldn’t happen in a more urban area’, Borenstein said, due to poor communication of these patchy risks by PG&E.”

Read More about PG&E Shutoffs in the San Francisco Chronicle, ABC News, the Sky Statement, La Presse, France24, and MarketWatch