OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Pacific Gas & Electric says it failed to notify 23,000 customers, including 500 who rely on electricity for "mobility or life-sustaining medical reasons," before shutting off their power to prevent wildfires earlier this month.
In a report filed with regulators Monday, California's largest utility didn't say where the affected customers live or if there were any reported medical complications. But they did say they failed to notify thousands of customers because they either didn't have contact information on file, were connected to a circuit PG&E mistakenly thought would be energized, or were overlooked in the process of applying the weather forecast model to the utility's electrical grid map, which is still performed manually.
PG&E says they warn medical customers in advance that their power will be shut off through calls, texts, and emails, and sometimes visits to the customer's home.
The outages Oct. 9-12 affected 636,000 homes, 81,000 businesses and 11,000 other customers in the first of a series of mass outages to prevent wildfires caused by electrical equipment. In the detailed report reflecting on the utlity's performance, PG&E said it "recognizes that there were significant shortcomings in its execution of this PSPS event." It laid out several changes it plans to implement in the future, including setting up a temporary website after the PG&E website crashed from a surge in visitors during the outage event. The company also said it would create emergency call centers to field customer questions and special help lines for government agencies, which also complained about a lack of adequate communication during the outages.
Millions faced blackouts this weekend while fires are raging on both ends of California, and more shutoffs are expected in the coming days.
PG&E didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.