PG&E Shuts Off Power to Vulnerable California Communities for Second Time This Month

by Ryan Schleeter

October 24, 2019

Less than two weeks after shutting off power to hundreds of thousands of Californians, utility company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced that it will again shut off power to 17 Northern California counties. The shutdown is expected to impact at least 180,000 customers. The stated purpose of the power shutoff is to prevent potential wildfires as warm, dry weather, high winds, and the changing climate are increasing the risk of fires in California.

In response, Greenpeace USA Climate Campaigner Rachel Rye Butler said:

“For the second time in two weeks, hundreds of thousands of Californians will be left in the dark by their electricity company and public officials who haven’t done enough in the face of climate change. Vulnerable communities continue to pay the price — at least one person who relied on electrically-powered medical equipment died during the shutoff earlier this month [1].

“PG&E is not alone in shouldering the blame. The fossil fuel industry has polluted Californians’ air and water for decades and fueled the climate crisis, creating the hotter, drier conditions partially responsible for catastrophic wildfires and the need for power shutoffs across the state.

“Governor Gavin Newsom is pointing fingers at PG&E, saying that the shutoffs ‘can’t be the new normal [2], but things are only going to get worse if Newsom lets the fossil fuel industry carry on business as usual. It’s time for Governor Newsom to get serious about climate change and begin a just transition to phase out oil production in California.”

The full list of impacted cities and counties can be found here.

Notes:

[1] https://apnews.com/5eb4e0c1fd844ea2bc51d8dfbda5aae1

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/22/california-wildfires-power-shutoffs-pge

Contact: Ryan Schleeter, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (415) 342-2386, ryan.schleeter@greenpeace.org

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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