Cell phone towers shut off during PG&E power outage

Many people are without cell service after PG&E cut power to two milllion people and wildfires burn across California.

In Marin County, close to 50 percent of all cell sites are down. In Sonoma County, 17 percent of sites are without power. 

"The biggest concern is that when it comes to 911 calls, 81 percent of 911 calls are made from your wireless phone so having cell sites down it's an incredible public safety concern that consumers cannot access emergency services," said Ana Maria Johnson with the California Public Utilities Commission.

Johnson said cell towers don't have back-up power systems because cell companies are not required to do so. 

The Public Advocates Office, an independent organization within the California Public Utilities Commission, has petitioned the CPUC to require cellular companies to have generators and back-up batteries on-site.

According to the Public Advocates Office, 2.4 percent of all cell sites are down across all the California counties affected by PG&E outages. 

It is unclear exactly how many cell phone customers lost service, but the FCC has asked wireless providers to report the number and locations of all cell site outages.