California State Senator Blasts PG&E Over Power Outages

California State Senator Blasts PG&E Over Power Outages

About 312,000 electric customers remained without power as of 10 p.m. officials said.

Restaurant owner Emily Schiffman speaks to customers behind a candle-lit bar at Reel and Brand in Sonoma, California, on October 9, 2019, during a planned power outage by the Pacific Gas & Electric utility company. That still leaves about 510,000 customers without electricity. "I think we made the right call".

"It's devastating beyond words", Newsom said.

Johnson said the utility posted outage maps with inconsistent or inaccurate information, its website crashed and its call center was overwhelmed. "The fire is in such a dynamic state, we're just trying to protect homes", the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Some people in the largely rural Butte, Plumas and Yuba counties and in Northern California's famed wine country counties were in their third day without electricity.

The 210 Freeway has been shut down in both directions between the 5 and 118 freeways, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Weather forecasters have warned of strong winds and "extremely critical fire" conditions Friday and state authorities have issued their highest fire alert - a red flag warning.

Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said the fire had grown to more than 7 square miles (18 square kilometres) and at least 25 homes had been damaged. The winds had increased the possibility of transmission lines toppling to the ground and starting wildfires.

PG&E has come under intense scrutiny for mismanaging sections of its power grid.

Residents, business owners and even public officials expressed frustration about the blackouts, which the utility began on a much smaller scale past year during times of high fire risk. More than 3 million people may be eventually affected, based on city estimates and the average household size.

The second phase of PG&E's shut-off began late Wednesday. Experts say a customer includes between two and three people.

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In the midst of confusion and frustration over the outages, there had been some positive news for PG&E customers.

The fire reportedly started when the load on a garbage truck caught on fire and spread to vegetation.

PG&E has estimated that some 800,000 customers would have their power unplugged during the outage.

Residents in parts of Sylmar, as well as areas of Granada Hills and Porter Ranch north of Sesnon Boulevard, are all under evacuation orders.

The fire is about 823 acres (333 hectares) and 10% contained. That blaze has stopped spreading and all previous evacuation orders have been lifted, CalFire said. The cause of the fire has not been determined. Traffic lights and ATMs are out, and some counties have set up community centers for food, water and charging stations.

"We want to make sure there are no embers, nothing that could restart that fire", Hill said.

Emergency officials say one civilian went into cardiac arrest and died at the hospital, and one firefighter sustained a minor injury to his eye. It was 60% contained.

Weather conditions are getting better, and the utility said it'll start its safety inspections and repairs in some areas, a first step to restoring power.

"Once daylight comes, a more accurate assessment can be performed", the L.A. Fire Department said in a pre-dawn Twitter message.

PG&E cast the blackouts as a matter of public safety, aimed at preventing the kind of blazes that have killed scores of people over the past couple of years, destroyed thousands of homes, and ran up tens of billions of dollars in claims that drove the company into bankruptcy.

The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive ever recorded in California, with about 100 residents and firefighters killed.

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