California regulators to open inquiry into power outages
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California regulators are voting Wednesday on whether to open an investigation into pre-emptive power outages that blacked out large parts of the state for much of October as strong winds sparked fears of wildfires.
The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., initiated multiple rounds of shut-offs that plunged nearly 2.5 million people into darkness throughout northern and central California.
PG&E officials insisted on the shut-offs to prevent wildfires but a parade of public officials complained the company botched its communications.
Southern California Edison Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. also shut off power but to far fewer people.
California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer ordered the investigation, saying the state cannot continue to experience widespread blackouts.
A vote by the five-member commission is required.
AP Business Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this report.