PG&E shut off power to residents of the North State shortly after midnight Wednesday. More shutoffs are expected today. In total, 800,000 customers will be negatively impacted. An estimated 2.5 million Californians will not have electricity.
Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), who represents Paradise where 85 people died as a result of the Camp Fire and thousands are still displaced, issued the following statement:
“PG&E’s massive power shutoff is unacceptable. This policy has to change. PG&E’s decision to protect itself from liability at the expense of hardworking Californians will not be tolerated. This disregards people’s livelihoods. We depend on electricity to live and earn a living.
“Millions without electricity is what a third world country looks like, not a state that is the 5th largest economy in the world.
“Schools closed. Government offices closed. Businesses closed.
“Employees were sent home as businesses had to shut their doors. Some workers are forced to go without pay.
“Parents scrambled to find babysitters, raced to buy battery-operated lights, and rushed home to prepare their families in anticipation of days of darkness. This is no way to live. We are in the United States of America. Access to electricity is a basic necessity for life.
“This ham-fisted policy by PG&E appears to be nothing more than a very selfish approach to protecting corporate interests at the expense of customers who cannot shop elsewhere for this vital utility - electricity. This Legislature must rigorously examine whether PG&E is capable of responsibly delivering reliable, safe electricity to its rate-paying customers.”