Los Gatos

Los Gatos Residents to Meet With PG&E After Dealing With Repeated Outages

NBC Universal, Inc.

Residents of one Los Gatos neighborhood are meeting with PG&E after they said they have already suffered through more than a dozen power outages this year.

The Los Gatos neighborhood, which includes schools said the situation is not only inconvenient but it’s also dangerous.

“There’s upwards of 5,000 homes being affected by these power outages. The power outages can last anywhere from four hours to several days,” said Eric Horton of Los Gatos.

Many people in the large and spread out community in Los Gatos, around the Santa Cruz Mountains summit said they are ready to take action against PG&E.

Neighborhood organizers told NBC Bay Area that they have endured more than a dozen power outages this year including seven in August alone.

“Collectively, the community is really starting to get pretty angry about the situation," Holden added. "People are losing hundreds of dollars in spoiled food. They’re spending hundreds of dollars on gas or propane for their generators. They’re missing work. They’re missing school.”

Lakeside Joint School District superintendent Dr. Sean Joyce told NBC Bay Area Wednesday that Lakeside Elementary School and its 120 students have gotten by with low tech solutions during the outages.

He added that the school are literally running extension cords from the neighboring community center into the classrooms. But it’s a strain on its new expensive COVID ventilation system.

“When the power goes out, now we’ve got students in classrooms with no ventilation to protect them from COVID," Joyce said. "Under normal circumstances, we might be able to go outside. but the air quality right now with the wildfires sends us back inside and we have to button up."

The residents said it’s their understanding PG&E uses a “sensitivity switch” that cuts power to their grid when there is a wildfire threat to lines.

But residents said that PG&E is slow and unresponsive in restoring power.

A group of at least 100 residents now plan to confront PG&E in San Jose next Thursday.

“At this point, we want to know ‘is PG&E really the best custodian or the best company to be handling our power and our infrastructure?’” Horton said.

In response, PG&E told NBC Bay Area that it apologizes for the delays in restoring power. But PG&E officials called the delays necessary as it takes extreme measures to protect power lines against wildfire risk.

Residents said that It’s an argument they said they have heard before. It appears the planned face-to-face meeting next Thursday probably won’t be delayed.

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