MAXWELL — Pacific Gas and Electric and its workers seem to be under fire from upset, unplugged customers as the utility continues its unprecedented Public Safety Power Shutoff.
Tuesday night, the passenger window of a company pickup truck was shattered near the Maxwell rest stop in Colusa County. The PG&E employee inside at the time was unhurt.
“We know it’s impactful and it’s not a popular decision to turn the power off and we certainly understand their frustrations,” said PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo. “What we would like them to know is that our employees are your friends, your community members and your neighbors and they’re just out there trying to work safely.”
Representatives for PG&E would not discuss the potential shooting incident directly or the vandalism that shut down a PG&E office Wednesday in Oroville.
Merlo also would not clarify if those situations or a separate threat prompted the placement of barricades at PG&E’s San Francisco headquarters.
At a community resource center set up for those left in the dark, El Dorado Hills resident Ron Olarte could not understand why the scenario would push anyone to violence. But moving into his new home just four months ago, he said he did understand the frustration.
“We come up here to a more established neighborhood and come to find out we can’t even have power,” Olarte said.
An attitude of patience and perseverance in these times is what the union representing PG&E’s workers said they were hoping for from the public. IBEW Ninth District Vice President John O’Rourke said in a statement:
Violence against these workers is inexcusable. They provide critical services to the public. These utility workers are among the unsung heroes who respond without hesitation during catastrophic events.
The wives of workers in one union made their plea for calm on Facebook, writing above a picture of a gloved up, hard hat wearing man holding a baby.
“They are simply employees and have no say in any decision making. … Please remember to stay kind,” they wrote.