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PG&E customers in Atascadero react to recent power outages

Residents in Atascadero react to recent power outages
PG&E says outages are due to wildfire prevention protocols
Posted at 6:17 PM, Sep 17, 2021

Lydia Lawson’s morning routine did not go as planned Friday after her electric water pump shut off.

“No water pressure, so we can’t shower or flush or run the sinks,” Lawson explained.

Around 6:30 a.m., almost 3,000 customers in the Atascadero, Creston and Pozo areas were affected by two major outages. Another one hit around 9 a.m., leaving more than 1,000 residents without electricity between Lake Nacimiento and Highway 46.

“It’s the third one for us in a couple of weeks,” Lawson said.

Some of these outages have lasted more than 24 hours, leaving Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) customers frustrated.

“We apologize to our customers who are experiencing these more frequent outages and maybe of longer duration, but we are doing it with community safety in mind,” said Mark Mesesan, PG&E spokesperson.

PG&E explained these shutoffs are occurring due to their updated wildfire prevention protocols.

“Implementing higher sensitivity settings that will automatically turn off power faster if an object makes contact with an energized line or equipment,” Mesesan added.

But this could change soon.

“As the conditions begin to improve, we would return the settings to a normal sensitivity which would be less inclined to prompt an outage due to a fault,” Mesesan said.

Jo Anne Carollo has her generator on standby.

“Just the concern about losing your freezer and refrigerated food,” Carollo said.

Lawson is now seriously thinking about getting one to keep her family members and horses safe.

“We have considered it for a bit. In fact, PG&E encourages it for people who live out in the country,” Lawson said.

PG&E has advised its customers to be prepared for future outages, but there is a way to submit a claim for reimbursement if you're affected. The claim will be investigated to determine if it was a case of negligence on PG&E’s behalf. For more information, click here.

The company also has a battery and generator rebate program customers can apply for.