Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The public will get a chance to speak at a hearing in Alpine tonight about a controversial proposal from San Diego Gas and Electric. The energy company wants the authority to turn off power in the back country during days when weather conditions increase the risk of wildfires. KPBS reporter Katie Orr reports.
The California Public Utilities Commission is holding two public hearings this week about SDG&E’s emergency shut off plan. Regulators must give the utility approval before it can go ahead with the program. The proposal would allow the company to turn off power to customers on days when the weather is extremely windy and dry. SDG&E says on its website about 45 thousand customers would potentially be affected, mostly those living in San Diego’s back county.
But the San Diego based Utility Consumers Action Network says the plan could actually increase the risk of fires. The group says customers without power might use generators more often or depend on candles to cook or heat water. UCAN says those actions could lead to accidents which could result in fires.
Katie Orr, KPBS News