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Regulators to Decide on SDG&E Shut-Off Plan

Proposed Shut-Off Requirements

  • A red-flag warning for weather conditions is in effect
  • SDG&E would notify the County Office of Emergency Services 12 hours before a planned shut-off
  • Electricity could not be shut off for more than 24 hours
  • A committee would be established to decide if the strategy is effective as a preventive measure

— People living in San Diego’s backcountry could find out tomorrow whether San Diego Gas and Electric will be able to turn off their power on high-risk fire days. State regulators will discuss the plan Thursday.

The California Public Utilities Commission has two recommendations to consider while deciding on the SDG&E shut-off plan. A staff report advises the commission to deny the plan. But Commissioner Timothy Simon believes a pilot program could work. San Diego State Professor Matt Rahn studies the economic impact of wildfires. He says the fact that fires are so costly makes the issue important. He says the 2003 fires showed that.

“We estimated the overall impact, not just to property and homes, but the overall impact to the region was on the order of about $2.5 billion,” he said.

Rahn says the 2007 fires likely had a similar cost. SDG&E settled $740 million worth of claims involving the 2007 fires. Hundreds of millions in claims are still pending.

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