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Cunningham wants PG&E to reimburse customers for power shutoffs

Posted at 5:18 PM, Oct 24, 2019

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) says he'll be co-authoring a bill that would require PG&E shareholders to reimburse small businesses and families for costs associated with Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

This Wednesday and Thursday, PG&E cut power to about a half-million people in the Sierra foothills and northern California due to dangerous fire weather conditions. For many customers, it was the second time in as many weeks they were left in the dark.

"Shutting off power has real effects on people," Cunningham said in a statement released Thursday. "For too long, utilities have had little incentive to fire harden their vulnerable infrastructure, and now the 'solution' is to shut off power. Power shutoffs hurt ordinary people and small businesses. It's only fair that the utilities' shareholders be responsible for any losses incurred by shutting off the power."

The bill, SB 378 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), is being amended now and will reportedly be unveiled in its entirety in January.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom sent PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson a letter asking that the utility provide a bill credit or rebate worth $100 for residential customers and $250 for small businesses that were affected by the first round of shutoffs earlier this month.

Johnson said PG&E is considering the governor's request but the company wants to wait until after a review by the California Public Utilities Commission.