Californians struggle after latest blackout hits 1.5 million
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — Californians on Wednesday found themselves facing winds, wildfires and darkness from yet another power outage that hit more than 1 million people.
Frustration and anger mounted across Northern California as Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the state’s largest utility, began the third round of sweeping blackouts in a week aimed at preventing its electrical equipment from being fouled by wind-whipped branches or toppling and sparking wildfires.
PG&E said Tuesday’s blackouts would affect about 1.5 million people in some 30 counties including the Sierra foothills, wine country and San Francisco Bay Area. They included 1 million still without power from a shut-off over the weekend.
With no electricity for the fourth straight day, chef and caterer Jane Sykes realized she would have to throw out $1,000 worth of food, including trays of brownies, cupcakes and puff pastry.
She also had little hope of getting a good night’s sleep — there was no way to run the machine she relies on to counter her apnea.
“I don’t think PG&E really thought this through,” she lamented.
PG&E officials said they understood the hardships caused by the safety blackouts but continued to insist they were necessary.
In wine country north of San Francisco, firefighters coped gusts while tackling a wildfire that has burned 86 homes and charred an area more than twice the size of San Francisco. About 90,000 buildings remained threatened. More than 150,000 people were under evacuation orders.