State Sen. Brian Dahle calls for special session to help residents, businesses without power
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office: 916-445-2841
CPUC office: 415-703-2782
State Sen. Brian Dahle stood outside California Organics in Nevada City on Wednesday to talk about the PG&E shutoffs.
The president of the Nevada City grocery store and restaurant, Chris Kysar, stood nearby. Kysar said he’s taken a $60,000 loss in product, in addition to money lost in revenue, from the power shutoffs.
Kysar said he’s wary of any company as large as PG&E.
“I don’t support monopolies,” he said.
Although Kysar said he has power outage insurance, he is not covered for the power shutoffs.
Almost 50 people working at California Organics are “fearful at this point,” said Kysar, noting they can’t pay rent, and may take jobs down the hill if something isn’t done soon to help businesses.
Dahle said he asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to call for a special session before the Legislature reconvenes next year to discuss how to help those affected by the PG&E shutoffs.
The senator didn’t have specific answers for conference attendees, only saying he will take everything into consideration for the session he hopes to hold in the near future.
“This is not something that’s going to go away,” said Dahle, noting that PG&E CEO Brian Johnson said it could take 10 years for the utility company to improve its system and avoid regular shutoffs. “We’re burning.”
Dahle said “we’re on fire” and the process for resolving the situation has been “too slow.”
Suzie Dyer, co-owner of South Pine Cafe and Pine Street Burgers, said she employs 100 people between all of her restaurants, and currently has half of them out of work due to the shutoffs.
Her husband and co-owner, George Dyer, has been able to transfer product from restaurants without power to those that have it in Grass Valley, but their business in Nevada City has not been running for seven total days.
“It’s already hard to live here,” said Suzie Dyer. These shutoffs have made it difficult for people to pay rent and their utility bills, she added.
The co-owner wants to know what Dahle will do for Nevada County in the short term to help businesses stay open and prevent residents from leaving the county and the state.
George Dyer said about $65,000 has been lost in revenue at their businesses due to the series of shutoffs.
Laura Thorne, owner of Way Yum Sushi, said PG&E should have been doing something to fix their power lines for the last 100 years, rather than giving bonuses to their corporate leaders.
“They need to fix this,” she said. “They need to help us.”
Nevada County CEO Alison Lehman, who attended the press conference, said Dahle and other representatives should rely on answers from Nevada County residents.
Dahle requested county residents call the California Public Utilities Commission to issue change, and reach out to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office to urge for a special session.
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4219.
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