AMERICAN CANYON, Calif. (KTXL) — With a little help from volunteers, Evelyn Manspeaker was cleaning up Wednesday after three days without power.
“Why did we have to have our power shut off right here?” she said.
She lost $300 worth of groceries and couldn’t use her CPAP machine.
“I have sleep apnea, and so my breathing is interrupted at night. And it keeps me breathing normally so I wake up refreshed,” Manspeaker explained.
She is one of roughly 100 seniors at Las Casitas Napa Mobile Home Park in American Canyon, where Pacific Gas & Electric’s preventative shutoffs hit hard.
It’s why Governor Gavin Newsom paid them a visit Wednesday.
“This is not the new normal,” he said. “This cannot take 10 years to resolve. We will hold them accountable.”
Wednesday was not the first time the governor has visited the mobile home park. He was there Saturday to ask the residents about their concerns prior to them losing power.
Neighbors told FOX40 the outage was worse than they expected but they were glad to see the governor checking back in to hear what they went through.
The governor said he is glad to see PG&E has agreed to credit victims of the Oct. 9 shutoff. A one-time payment of $100 will go to residents while $250 will go to businesses.
But Newsom said more needs to be done.
“The line on making sure there is no compensation, bonuses and benefits that go to executives or managers at PG&E unless it’s tied to public safety,” Newsom said. “And we have $5 billion commitment from the three largest IOUs, substantially PG&E for public safety improvements.”
Amid renewed calls for the state to take over the utility company, the governor said it’s something they are looking into with the help of a financial firm.
But he said he is not sure whether state control could prevent rolling blackouts given the state of PG&E’s equipment.
“They have spent decades not focusing on you but focusing on themselves, focusing on shareholders,” Newsom said. “As a consequence, they have not underground or hardened their lines, transmission, distribution lines, as they should. They haven’t modernized their grids.”
But Newsom said he does believe the state would do a better job with communication and resource centers during the shutoffs.
Neighbors at Las Casitas said they hope Governor Newsom’s ideas will turn into real action. They were just grateful Wednesday to see someone was paying attention to what they were going through.
“And so it does make a huge difference,” Manspeaker told FOX40.
Along with Governor Newsom’s visit, the seniors also got some help from the local food bank. They stopped by with bags of fresh food to help the neighbors replace what they lost in the outage.