In a move straight out of the Soviet Union handbook, PG&E has warned they may cut electrical power to some California residents during "extreme weather" to help prevent wildfires.
This comes after some poorly maintained Pacific Gas and Electric power lines and equipment have been determined to have started last year's deadly wildfires in the Napa Valley wine country area.
Cal Fire investigators said Friday that equipment owned and operated by PG&E ignited 12 wildfires that raged in hot, dry weather and high winds across Northern California in October, charring hundreds of square miles in Sonoma County and beyond, destroying thousands of structures and killing 18 people. (source)
According to Cal Fire, 8 of the 12 fires occurred due to lack of maintenance in violation of state regulations.
The utility was in violation of state code on eight of those fires, failing to clear brush around its lines and properly maintain its power equipment, according to state fire investigators.
Cal Fire found violations in the Norrbom, Partrick, Pythian, Adobe and Pocket fires that burned in Sonoma and Napa counties; the Atlas fire in Napa County; the Sulphur fire in Lake County; and the Blue fire in Humboldt County. (source)
Doesn't it sound like a good idea for PG&E to improve the maintenance of their equipment and lines? But instead, they have a different response.
PG&E's response to the deadly Napa Valley Fires
Instead of improving their maintenance, PG&E has made the arbitrary decision to cut electricity to areas they have identified as risky, leaving residents to fend for themselves without power during the most brutally hot days of the year. Here's a map of the areas that PG&E considers to be "high risk."