‘Obvious flaws.’ California regulator hits PG&E over new rash of wildfire safety blackouts

How the PG&E blackouts are affecting Placerville residents Placerville residents who don’t have power due to PG&E public safety power shutoff use a Community Resource Center in the city on Oct. 28, 2019. Some have been without power for three days, and another shutoff is coming.

Renée Byer California’s top utilities regulator has blasted PG&E Corp. over a recent rash of blackouts designed to avert wildfires, citing “the obvious flaws in PG&E’s approach.” Marybel Batjer, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, last week scolded Patti Poppe, the chief executive of PG&E, over a new safety initiative called “Fast Trip” or “Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings.”

The program calls for PG&E to ramp up the sensitivity of the circuit breakers on major stretches of the utility’s grid, triggering automatic blackouts when power equipment comes into contact with an animal, a tree or something else that could lead to a fire. In her letter, Batjer said more than 500 blackouts have occurred since the program started in late July, affecting more than 560,000 homes and businesses.

Some customers have been hit more than once. “While I acknowledge how critical it is to public safety to reduce the risk of utility-ignited wildfires, it appears that PG&E decided to implement Fast Trip settings this summer with little forethought,” she wrote.

DAWG SAYS: I AM REALLY CURIOUS WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO STOP TALK AND BLUSTERING ABOUT PG&E. TIME TO TAKE ACTION NOT TALK. AND IT IS NOT LIKE THE CUSTOMERS HAVE ANY OTHER ALTERNATIVE.


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