Dixie Fire report, Sierra snow failure shows PG&E won’t learn


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Contractors work on a utility pole Thursday, Jan.6, 2022 on Norlene Way in Alta Sierra as more than 7,800 PG&E customers in Nevada County remain without power more than a week after heavy snow storms in the Sierra.

Contractors work on a utility pole Thursday, Jan.6, 2022 on Norlene Way in Alta Sierra as more than 7,800 PG&E customers in Nevada County remain without power more than a week after heavy snow storms in the Sierra.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. knew that a major winter storm was coming down in Northern California. Yet two weeks later, 11,000 homes and businesses in the Sierras remain in the dark, strung in the freezing cold by a public service more accustomed to breaking its promises than keeping them.

Californians barely raised an eyebrow this week when PG&E was found responsible for yet another wildfire – last year’s historic Dixie Fire. But adding a winter disaster to your list of liabilities is, to say the least, a new way to fail the clients who depend on it.

In an incredibly facetious press release on December 22, the company said it was aware of the impending storm. Instead of bracing for the onslaught of snow and ice, he chose to share jokes about enjoying a “White Christmas” and that Santa Claus won’t be “the only one.” shot seen on Californian radars’ this winter.

Four days later, the company issued a much darker notice regarding its “response at all levels.” What joke.

PG&E touted its “Storm Outage Prediction Model” which integrates real-time weather forecasting, historical data and system knowledge. Yet Californians wonder if PG&E has used any of these technological advancements to actually prepare or protect its customers.

Grass Valley resident Vicki Lorini told The Bee that PG&E was “far too slow to prepare for the storm and restore power for residents, especially elderly residents forced to rely on volunteers for their bring food and other necessities “. It took more than a week for PG&E to come up with an estimate for power restoration, according to resident Elisabeth Jones, who said her family resorted to urinating in a bucket full of straw because their home had need electricity to run its well-founded plumbing.

At this point, it might be faster and more appreciated for the company to invest in horse-drawn sleds to deliver food, candles and firewood, as customers are forced to resort to a toilet. exterior.

How long do we allow PG&E to continue failing in California? What will it take for heads of state to finally protect their constituents, instead of sacrificing, season after season, California residents to the failures of this treacherous enterprise?

If PG&E is willing to shut down active power lines in the Sierras to avoid starting wildfires in the summer, it should be just as capable of responding to dangerous winter weather conditions. Prioritizing reliable energy service is more important than avoiding liability, regardless of the weather.

How can we expect PG&E to care about the electricity in Placer, El Dorado and Nevada counties as it stands accused of causing another mega-fire in Butte, Plumas and Lassen? It is apparently too difficult for the company not to raise tariffs while pressuring regulators to remove rooftop solar power, one of the few programs that would give Californians access to a clean energy while saving money on their monthly bill.

PG&E always seems more concerned with avoiding consequences than doing what is best for its customers. Time and time again, California faces the sometimes deadly consequences of a business motivated to serve its investors and ease its liabilities, while exacerbating the state’s climate disasters.

Again, we ask: How long will California let this utility giant get away with it?


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