Last week, PG&E took the unprecedented step of cutting power to more than 700,000 customers, affecting about 2.5 million Californians.
On Monday, Newsom said he had sent a letter to California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer, confirming that the agency will conduct a comprehensive inquiry and review of PG&E's planning, implementation and decision-making process failures.
Generators and sun based boards are the last things low-pay families are considering during the power outage, said Mary Kuhn, representative for Catholic Charities East Bay. The company did it because of unsafe wind forecast but acknowledged that its execution was poor. "It's a future we must be ready for given the conditions and risks that we face", Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in a press conference with reporters.
Several of the corrective actions the commission ordered dealt with website crashes and an overwhelming surge in call center activity the utility experienced during the power shutdown.
"It is possible that any one of these instances could have been a potential source of ignition" for a wildfire if the outage hadn't taken effect, the statement said. While both PG&E and California state officials alike acknowledged that the shutoffs that began on Wednesday could have been better orchestrated, neither questioned their need. He also called on state utility regulators to review PG&E's actions.
Newsom's letter criticized the utility for failing to properly maintain its equipment, saying "this outage was the direct result of decades of PG&E prioritizing profit over public safety, mismanagement, inadequate investment in fire safety and fire prevention measures, and neglect of critical infrastructure".
Newsom is urging PG&E to give credits or rebates of $100 to each residential customer and $250 to small businesses as "some compensation for their hardships", a release from the governor's office said Monday.
But do the power shut-offs actually prevent fires?
(PG&E) said Saturday that it has fully restored power to 738,000 customers in 34 counties in Northern and Central California after three-day sweeping energy outages.
"It appears never to have occurred to the utility to confirm with its local public safety partners that the tool would meet their needs, nor did PG&E show the website to the local governments who had always been asking for situational awareness information before launching the website publicly", attorneys wrote.