San Jose mayor says power shutoff cost city $500K

The power is back on in most of the South Bay Thursday night. PG&E said only 1,500 of its customers in San Jose are without power and they should be restored Friday.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said the power shutoff cost the city $500,000 and he expects the utility to pay the city back.

City officials said the money was spent on 24/7 staffing including 150 workers who monitored the outage. The money was also spent on refueling generators for critical water pumping and fire stations.

The outage affected some 20,000 PG&E customer accounts in Alum Rock, Evergreen and Almaden areas of San Jose. The mayor said the city will go through a bankruptcy judge to recoup losses from the embattled utility.

“What is a minor inconvenience for a few hours becomes a major public health and public safety hazard over several days,” said Liccardo. “We critically need to ensure these power shutdowns do not last more than a few hours.”

Connie Nguyen is the owner of Tastea in East San Jose. Nguyen was replenishing her inventory Thursday night after her bubble tea and smoothie shop went dark late Wednesday night. The power to her shop and most parts of the South Bay was restored some 17 hours later.

“I understand why PG&E did what they did but as a business owner, it’s losing a lot of money,” said Nguyen.

“It’s very disruptive,” said Merlie Garcia who is the manager at the DaVita Dialysis Center. “It is not easy especially for patients.”

The outage affected the DaVita Dialysis Center on White Road that lost power. Staff transferred its 300 patients to the nearby Eastridge Dialysis Center for treatments. The clinic on White Road will remain closed until Monday as they inspect equipment.

“PG&E was telling us that it’s going to be 5 to 7 days but we were happy, the power is back on,” said Garcia.

Schools in the Alum Rock District and Evergreen Valley College cancelled classes due to the outage. Both confirmed classes will resume Friday.