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Special meeting in San Francisco held to question PG&E about power outages

PG&E questioned about power outages during special meeting in San Francisco.
PG&E questioned about power outages during special meeting in San Francisco. 03:02

PG&E is coming off a year where it saw $2.2 billion in profit while raising rates, and meanwhile, customers are annoyed about the rates and power outages that appeared to have happened suddenly.

A special meeting in San Francisco saw people speak about their concerns.

The goal of the hearing was to try and get specific answers from PG&E as to why certain areas of San Francisco have been seeing what they say are a higher than usual number of power outages not related to weather conditions and what PG&E plans to do to fix the problem.

"You are a company that provides a product and services but you're also a utility. It's just essential, I mean people can't survive, some people are in a very vulnerable situation," said Sup. Myrna Melgar.

Supervisor Myrna Melgar led the questioning of PG&E officials, asking why some neighborhoods, mostly located on the west side of the city, have experienced multiple power outages this year alone.

"The area around Casitas is one of them and the area that is around Mount Davidson, you showed a couple pictures that it's exactly that, and then West Portal," said Sup. Melgar.

PG&E officials blamed weather and old infrastructure for many of the blackouts but said on average their crews get power back on to most residents within hours.

"Twenty-two percent were five minutes or less, and in terms of 12 plus hours it's 4 percent. Everything in the middle is between five minutes and 12 hours, that's 74 percent," said a PG&E official at the hearing.

Still many residents who attended the meeting said they've had multiple non-weather-related outages, some lasting for more than a day.

"Less than two months, four outages. Last year there were three. The year before there were five," said one resident.

"They are not just frustrating power outages lasting a couple of hours but rather on the order of days. I did submit claims by the way twice and got rejected saying that it was you know not due to PG&E's control," said another resident.

Supervisor Melgar tried to get the PG&E officials to give her a firm timeline on when they plan to fix some of the ailing equipment in these neighborhoods, but the officials said they would have to get back to her with that information.

After the hearing, KPIX asked the supervisor if she was satisfied with that answer.

"It makes me feel like perhaps the priority is not on the customer service, it is perhaps to their other priorities," said Sup. Melgar.

Supervisor Melgar said she plans to continue to follow up with PG&E for as long as it takes to get these issues resolved.

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