Residents of Northern California were furiously left behind after a fourth day without electricity on Tuesday, when the state's largest utility company started a third round of widespread power outages.
Pacific Gas & Electric have come under fire for their series of intentional blackouts designed to prevent their electrical equipment from catching fire after the utility was blown up in the past due to forest fires.
On Tuesday, PG&E turned off the power for 596,000 customers – around 1.5 million people – across 29 counties in Northern California.
On Wednesday, PG&E canceled intentional power outages for customers in the Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo provinces due to improved weather conditions.
That reduced the scope of Tuesday's outages by 30,000, which means that about 510,000 customers were without power on Wednesday.
Northern California lagged furiously after leaving their fourth day without electricity on Tuesday
The map above shows the blackouts in Northern California from October 29
On Tuesday, PG&E said it continued to restore the power of its residents, even when it began to separate other customers from energy, as part of the third intentional blackout in a week, according to SFGate.
Chef and caterer Jane Sykes smoked Tuesday when she realized she would have to throw away $ 1,000 worth of food, including brownies, cupcakes and puff pastry.
& # 39; I don't think PG&E really thought about this, & # 39; she said, adding no electricity to the machine she relies on for her apnea.
Millions of people have not had power for days, while firefighters rushed to hold two large wind-blown fires that have destroyed dozens of homes at both ends of the state: the Kincade Fire in the Sonoma County wine country and the Getty Fire in the hills of Los Angeles.
In Northern California, people were worried about charging cell phones and electric vehicles, finding gasoline and cash, staying warm and preventing their food from being spoiled. They turned on headlights at home and parked their car outside unusable automatic garage doors.
Oakland police officers in a cruiser remain alert in the shopping area of Montclair during the power failure of PG&E on October 10
Firefighters watch a structure burn during the Kincade fire off Highway 128, east of Healdsburg, California on Tuesday
Some ended up in centers established by PG&E where people could feed their electronics and get free water, snacks, flashlights and sun lanterns.
& # 39; There are hidden costs. Absolute public safety above all, but there is a big financial loss to my profession because I have to throw away a lot of hard work, & Skye said.
By 5:00 pm, approximately 435,000 customers – or nearly 1.1 million people – were without electricity, as restorations were made after Sunday's closure and new outages continued from Tuesday's wind event, the utility said.
Due to the disruptions, people like Linda Waldron, a mother of two children who lives in San Rafael north of San Francisco, have realized the things that we take for granted.
She discovered that she was almost empty and panicked as she drove around looking for an open gas station. She eventually drove to San Francisco, about 32 kilometers away, before finding one. She also saved money after she realized she only had $ 1 in her wallet.
& # 39; What if we had to evacuate and I didn't have gas in the car? & # 39; she said as her 5 year old daughter and 3 year old son on a playground cavort. & # 39; I didn't even think about gas and cash because I'm too busy with these guys. & # 39;
In Placer County, Angel Smith relied on baby wipes and blankets to keep her 13-month-old son Liam warm and clean. The family has run out of electricity since Saturday night and cannot draw well water without electricity.
She took a cord from her neighbor's generator to keep her phone and tablet charged so that the two could watch movies. It was expected that the temperatures in parts of Northern California would fall one night below freezing.
& # 39; The most difficult part of this is for me to keep my son warm because it gets cold here, & # 39; said Smith.
In Mendocino County, officials say they have trouble keeping the public informed because they can't trust the information they get from PG&E.
& # 39; The problem is not even all power outages. It is the lack of communication. It makes people think they're getting their power back, & said Carmel Angelo, the president of the province.
After the weekend ended, some people were led to believe that the power would return on Monday and that the next round of outages would avoid the most densely populated areas of Mendocino. But Angelo said she heard on Tuesday that the outage was still on due to two damaged transmission lines tens of miles away in Marin County.
If people knew the lights would be out for a week, they could have planned that accordingly, she said. It has been especially difficult for people who need oxygen. Some trucks topping up oxygen have been caught in long gas delays, and some patients have been taken to emergency services as a precaution, she said.
Mendocino residents Suzanne Lemley Schein and her husband, Glenn, lost power on Saturday and have spent time since playing backgammon by candlelight and going to bed early.
They have not been able to rent out a studio on their property, or even offer it to wildfire evacuees, because it has no electricity or water.
She said she doesn't like & # 39; the power that PG&E has over all of us & # 39 ;, she said. & # 39; This has paralyzed us in many ways. & # 39;
Sykes, the caterer, is one of the wealthy people in Marin County, north of San Francisco, who have been without power since Saturday.
She lives in San Rafael, but works in San Francisco, so she has & # 39; civilization during the day & # 39; but she said it is creepy to drive along dark roads. She has not opened her freezer since the power failure and is not looking forward to it.
& # 39; I'm pretty sure it can't be saved, & # 39; she said.
PG&E, which is in bankruptcy after its equipment has been blamed in the last three years for a series of disastrous fires, including one that has nearly destroyed the city of Paradise and killed 85 people, has said public safety is the main concern.
But Gov. Gavin Newsom and leading utility regulators have accused the company of mismanaging its food system and for decades failing to make the investments needed to make it more sustainable. He and others have also complained that the utility has thwarted the failures by not keeping the public sufficiently informed.
PG&E Corp. President Bill Johnson said he spoke with Newsom on Tuesday and told him that he agreed with his suggestion that the company give credit to customers affected by preventive power outages. Newsom had suggested $ 100 per household or $ 250 per company. Johnson did not confirm a figure and only said: & We agree with his suggestion. About how that is done, the engineers, we will arrange that when we get through this. & # 39;
PG&E said Monday that its power lines might have started two smaller fires in the weekend in a part of the San Francisco Bay Area, where the utility had turned on the lights because it wasn't a high fire risk.
The California Public Utilities Commission plans to launch an investigation that could lead to fines against PG&E.
The committee said it is also planning to review the rules for blackouts, will try to prevent utility companies from charging customers when the power is off and will call experts to find network improvements that could close the next burning season Reduce.
The state cannot continue to experience such widespread blackouts, & nor can Californians be subjected to the poor execution that PG&E in particular has shown & # 39 ;, said PUC President Marybel Batjer in a statement.
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