PG&E Customers Blacked Out More than Average

Utility company blames storms and terrain on outages

By Jackson West
|  Monday, Jun 15, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM PDT
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PG&E Customers Blacked Out More than Average

David Sifry

Last year's winter storm was blamed by PG&E for skewing outage numbers.

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Customers of Pacific Gas and Electric spent the most time with the lights off due to blackouts than anyone else in California, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

The average PG&E customer lost power 1.6 times for a total of nearly seven hours last year. A company executive blamed the problems on the geography and meterology of the area.

Though with over a hundred years of experience, you'd think Pacific Gas and Electric had figured out how to reliably serve the San Francisco Bay Area.

PG&E put much of the blame on a powerful storm that made landfall in January of 2008 that left 2 million in the dark. More recently, one of the company's underground vaults caught fire, knocking out power in San Francisco's city center and spewing noxious flames for hours.

But even striking those events from the books, PG&E customers still spent the longest lighting candles among utility customers statewide.

Photo by David Sifry.

Jackson West doesn't mind power outages, since it's like a snow day for folks who work from home.

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