Last year the deadliest wildfire in California history – the Camp Fire – was caused by the utility company PG&E. High winds made a transmission line snap, and dry conditions helped the resulting fire spread.
The state holds that the utility company is liable for the fire. But other utilities, including PG&E, say the only way to prevent this from occurring again is with preemptive power shutdowns when fire risk is high.
In fact, they have already started. In June, PG&E cut power to more than 20,000 northern California customers. One city has even been warned that blackouts could occur up to 15 times this summer and fall.
PG&E is the largest electrical utility in the state. It serves 5.4 million homes and businesses. The planned outages will mainly affect high risk areas for wildfires. But could also extend to just about anywhere in the Golden State.