PG&E Nears Restoring Power to All Impacted Customers After Historic Shutoffs Across Bay Area

The public safety power shutoffs — prompted by high fire danger — left hundreds of thousands of customers in the dark

What to Know

  • The PG&E public safety power shutoffs have impacted roughly 738,000 customers across Northern and Central California.
  • About 543,000 customers have had their power restored since the shutoffs began. Roughly 195,000 customers remain in the dark.
  • Power restoration efforts continued Friday.

PG&E is nearing completion of restoring electricity to hundreds of thousands of Northern and Central California customers who have been in the dark since earlier this week when the utility deliberately cut power in some areas because of high fire danger.

Of the some 738,000 customers left without power since as early as Wednesday morning, 98% of customers have had their power restored after dangerous gusts — some topping 70 mph — have calmed.

"We faced a choice here between hardship on everyone or safety, and we chose safety," PG&E CEO and President Bill Johnson said Thursday. "I do apologize for the hardship this has caused, but I think we made the right call on safety."

PG&E on Thursday afternoon said improving weather conditions allowed crews an "all clear" to perform safety inspections and begin power restoration efforts.

Crews can only carry out the inspections and restore power during daylight hours. More than 6,300 workers on the ground and 44 helicopters in the air resumed the inspection and restoration process Friday morning.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said that the shutoffs affected about 20,000 customer accounts, amounting to roughly 60,000 residents.

The shutoffs also cost the city about $500,000 in extra staffing hours, fuel and more, Liccardo said.

"There's no question that this cost should be borne by PG&E," Liccardo said, adding that he is in discussions with Gov. Gavin Newsom's office about receiving compensation from the energy company.

Liccardo said the city experienced 68 stoplights without power Thursday morning, but that power had been restored to all but four by the evening.

He said the city was unsure when full power would be restored, but "we'll continue to press on until everyone receives power again."

Liccardo added that the city will continue to push for new legislation and initiatives, locally and in Sacramento, that will combat the effects of the ongoing climate crisis.

"We need to address the impacts of climate change, they're quite real and we felt them today," Liccardo said.

The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.

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