Like its homeless population, California cannot contain its wildfires.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is taking extreme measures to prevent being blamed, once again, for the state’s infernos. With strong winds forecasted in the coming days -- winds that threaten to knock down trees and topple power lines -- PG&E announced it would be cutting power to 800,000 customers across northern and central California.
PG&E has been blamed for many of the state’s recent wildfires, including the 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise. The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history, killing 85 people and destroying around 14,000 homes.
PG&E defended its decision to proactively cut power to its customers. In a news release, PG&E representative Michael Lewis explained, “the safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event. We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public's patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire.”
The blackouts could last for several days as PG&E acknowledged in the statement that it “must inspect its equipment for damage and make any necessary repairs” before power could be restored.
It remains to be seen how much political backlash Gov. Gavin Newsom will feel in the wake of California’s latest energy crisis. Similar blackouts in 2000 and 2001 helped Californians recall then-Governor Gray Davis in 2003.
Efforts to recall Newsom are underway, but these efforts face uphill battles.
With President Trump addressing California’s homeless problem and PG&E addressing wildfires, one thing is certain: California is severely lacking in leadership.