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California to open investigation into PG&E for power shutoffs

Streaks of lights from vehicles drive along highway 24 during the PG&E power outage in Oakland, Calif
Streaks of lights from vehicles drive along highway 24 during the PG&E power outage in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday. Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The California Public Utilities Commission announced Monday it will open an investigation into a series of power shutoffs by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) that were meant to curtail wildfires.

Where it stands: PG&E began to cut power to more than 2 million people over the weekend in an attempt to prevent further fires. The Commission says it will examine how public safety power shutoffs are conducted in the future and seek to "drive down risks of ignitions from utility infrastructure, risks that result from power loss, and the disruption to communities and commerce."

  • Backers of the investigation argue utilities can be too reliant on using shutoffs that impede on citizens' lives.
  • The company said Monday that it has begun restorations, with approximately 30,000 customers getting power back Sunday evening.

What they're saying: "The state cannot continue to experience [public safety power shut-off] events on the scope and scale Californians have experienced this month, nor should Californians be subject to the poor execution that PG&E in particular has exhibited,"Commission President Marybel Batjer said in a statement.

What to watch: PG&E has warned of more shutoffs Tuesday, amid forecasts of high winds.

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