California Governor Calls for Refunds From PG&E After Blackouts

Date : 10/14/2019 @ 11:19PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PCG)
Quote : 7.09  0.0 (0.00%) @ 9:11AM

California Governor Calls for Refunds From PG&E After Blackouts

Pacific Gas and Electric (NYSE:PCG)
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By Jim Carlton 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday called for PG&E Corp. to issue refunds to consumers and small businesses after last week's shutoff of power to about two million Californians intended to help avert potential wildfires.

Many across Northern California who lost power for up to several days last week complained of financial losses, with some businesses saying they totaled tens of thousands of dollars.

In letters to the company and top regulators, the governor asked PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson to provide those affected with an automatic credit or rebate of $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business. The Democrat said the rebates should be funded by shareholders of the bankrupt company, not ratepayers.

Regulations don't require PG&E to cover losses related to intentional blackouts, and the company previously has said it generally won't do so, though it would consider claims case by case. PG&E officials didn't immediately comment on the governor's letter.

Mr. Newsom asked the California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees PG&E, to undertake a comprehensive review of the company's use of planned shutdowns. "We must ensure there is accountability, especially when planning is poor or protocols are not followed," Mr. Newsom said in a letter to Marybel Batjer, president of the public utilities commission.

A spokesman for the agency said it hadn't yet fully reviewed the letter and didn't have an immediate comment.

Mr. Newsom in his letter lambasted PG&E's handling of the shutdown, citing a company information website that kept crashing, call centers with long wait times and faulty notifications.

Mr. Johnson acknowledged in a press conference last week that his company was "not adequately prepared."

Katherine Blunt contributed to this article.

Write to Jim Carlton at jim.carlton@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 14, 2019 19:04 ET (23:04 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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