Northern California

Cell, Internet Providers Told to Improve Response to PG&E Outages

California utility regulators told communications providers to step up preparations for widespread power outages or other emergencies that could hamper first responders and residents.

The California Public Utilities Commission ordered representatives of eight companies to attend the meeting Wednesday to answer questions about their responses during recent outages.

The meeting came as Pacific Gas & Electric initiated its latest round of shutdowns in Northern California to prevent equipment from sparking blazes in hot, windy weather.

Representatives of AT&T and T-Mobile told commissioners that PG&E's failure to communicate undermined their efforts to prepare.

About 3% of statewide cell towers failed in late October. The figure was much higher in some counties, with nearly 60% of towers failing in Marin County.

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