PG&E will give credits to customers affected by first October outage

Akber Jiwani, the owner of New Bait Shop, helps a customer in his shop that lost power on October 10, 2019 in Sausalito, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric says it will give credits to Northern California customers affected by an Oct. 9 power shutoff intended to prevent strong winds from damaging equipment and sparking fires.

PG&E president Bill Johnson said Tuesday he agrees with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s suggestion that the company credit its customers.

In the next billing cycle, each household impacted by PG&E’s early October outages will get $100 and each business will get $250. Those numbers were based on the governor’s suggestions.

Johnson said customers deserve credits because the utility handled the outage poorly — with a faulty website, inaccurate maps and unreliable lines of communication.

“We recognize the hardship caused by Public Safety Power Shutoffs in general and how those hardships were exacerbated by our website and call center communications issues related to the Oct. 9 PSPS event that impacted 738,000 customers,” Johnson said.

Customers who lost power during the three other preemptive shutoffs in October will not be getting credits.

“After this wildfire season, we are open to having a policy discussion with our state regulators and others about how we can further help our customers manage through these types of safety shutoffs,” PG&E wrote.

The utility said all funding for the reimbursements will come from its shareholders.

As of 5 p.m Tuesday, PG&E says about 435,000 customers — or nearly 1.1 million people — were without power.

The overall weather picture in northern areas is improving, as powerful, dry winds bring extreme fire weather to Southern California.

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