As we previously discussed, the dry season is hanging over much of California these days and there are red flag alerts for potential wildfires all over the place. Thankfully we haven’t seen any of the truly horrific fires like the ones that hit the Golden State in the past couple of years, but conditions are tenuous. This has led Pacific Gas & Electric to once again shut off power to certain hazardous areas where high winds are expected.
This week, Governor Gavin Newsom was in Oakland and was asked about this issue by a reporter. His response? People “should be outraged” and “infuriated.” (CBS San Francisco)
Gov. Gavin Newsom said in Oakland on Tuesday that the estimated 800,000 customers across California who will be affected by a Public Safety Power Shutoff by PG&E starting on Wednesday should be “outraged” and “infuriated.”
The utility is planning the shut-off as a precaution due to high wildfire risk.
But Newsom, who spoke to reporters after he signed a rent cap measure at the West Oakland Senior Center, said the power shutoff “was anticipated many months ago and this is the (utility) industry’s best practice.”
So people should be outraged and infuriated at PG&E. Okay, Governor. But notice how quickly he turned around and provided every reason imaginable for people not to be outraged or infuriated. He started by saying that the power outages were predicted months ago and they are a “best practice” for the utility.
But he didn’t stop there. One Newsom got started it was as if he couldn’t find the off switch for his mouth. He went on to describe the “intense winds and low humidity” that lead to potential wildfires if power lines come down. He then seemed to defend the utility company, saying the power outages were “based on their determination of what’s in the best interest of their customers in partnership and consultation with the Office of Emergency Services, CalFire and experts in this field.”
Finally, he finished off with a statement saying that power outages had to do with “public safety and saving lives.”
Wait a minute, here. Weren’t people supposed to be outraged and infuriated? You know, because PG&E is trying to ensure public safety and save lives?
Keep in mind the other reason that PG&E is doing this. It’s because when they didn’t shut off everyone’s power and some fires broke out from downed power lines, they were sued by individuals and fined by the government to the point where they had to file for bankruptcy last January. One more round of financial hits like that and there won’t be a utility company to keep the lights on. (Literally) So, of course, they’re going to kill the power until they can upgrade the grid.
The worst part is that downed power lines may indeed have been responsible for some of the fires, but humans caused more of them, along with lightning strikes and acts of God. There will be more fires anyway. The only difference is people won’t have any power so they probably won’t catch the warnings on television.