Utility companies not legally mandated to shut off power | TheUnion.com

Utility companies not legally mandated to shut off power

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

Some Facebook rumblings are promoting the belief that PG&E — and any Californian utility company — is legally mandated to shut off power to protect customer safety when there are weather conditions that could cause a wildfire.

The claims essentially state that new regulations from the California Public Utilities Commission, in conjunction with Gov. Gavin Newsom, recently changed the rules to protect consumer safety.

But these claims are unfounded.

According to PG&E marketing and communications representative Denny Boyles, utility companies are not mandated to shut off power under specific conditions. Rather, it is a utility company’s voluntary action.

PG&E is “allowed to (shut off power) when conditions merit for safety,” said Boyles.

A planned power shut off that began early Wednesday cut electricity to thousands of Nevada County residents. PG&E cited the possibility of strong winds, and other hazardous weather conditions, as the reason for the shut off.

PG&E said that at noon Friday 36% of Nevada County customers who lost power had it restored.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.

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