Power outages to prevent fires in Northern California may continue for a decade, the state’s biggest utility said Friday.
PG&E chief executive Bill Johnson said it could take 10 years for the utility to improve its system enough to significantly reduce the need to cut electricity during fire weather.
Johnson made the announcement during a California Public Utilities Commission meeting Friday. In a statement issued later, he tried to provide additional clarification.
“I didn’t mean to say we’d be doing it on this scale for 10 years. I think they’ll decrease in size and scope every year,” Johnson said in a statement.
Any of PG&E’s 5 million electric customers can be affected by the practice known as Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), which cuts electricity to avoid causing fires during high winds and dry conditions.
California Public Utilities Commission said it held the emergency meeting specifically to hear from PG&E’s executives regarding “the mistakes and operational gaps identified in the utility’s latest Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) events and to provide lessons learned to ensure they are not repeated.”