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Do California power shutoffs work? Hard to know, experts say

PG&E
Posted at 4:17 AM, Oct 14, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Millions of Californians spent part of the week in the dark in an unprecedented effort by the state's large electrical utilities to prevent another devastating wildfire.

It was the fifth time Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has pre-emptively cut the power but by far the largest to date in the utility's effort to prevent a deadly wildfire sparked by its power lines.

But do the power shut-offs actually prevent fires?

Experts say it's hard to know what might have happened had the power stayed on, or if the utility's proactive shutoffs are to thank for California's mild fire season this year.

PG&E said in a statement that employees located 23 spots where parts of its systems were damaged during the strong winds, but officials have declined to provide details.