PG&E will not compensate businesses for wildfire threat power outages

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Businesses in the North Bay will not be compensated by PG&E for suffering any losses after that big power outage at the beginning of October.

The utility shut down power to thousands of customers for several days in response to wildfire threats at the time.

And not everyone is pleased that PG&E will not be helping out the affected communities.

“It seems like it would be the right gesture,” tourist Melanie Talin said.

It is reaction to the news that PG&E will not be paying back any small businesses or residents in Calistoga due to shutting down power because of forecasted wildfire concerns. 

In the first of its kind, PG&E performed a public safety power shut off or PSPS starting on Sunday, Oct. 14. According to documents obtained by KRON4, 25 businesses were interrupted and had an economic impact, 17 customers had property damage, two had property damage with business interruption, and 102 customers had food loss.

In a report filed with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E stated quote, “PG&E has stated publicly that because of the safety-related nature of PSPS events, customers will not be reimbursed for associated losses.” 

Sixty-thousand customers were impacted–like All Seasons Bistro.

“They found the loophole,” Executive Chef Kevin Kathman said.

Kathman says it was a very stressful time.

“We ordered then had to cancel, then order again, when they all of a sudden lifted and restored the power,” Kathman said.

Other business owners declined to go on camera, with some expressing concerns that Calistoga has already suffered enough publicity.

They just want everything to return to normal.

During the raging wildfires, mandatory evacuations were in effect for Calistoga, hurting tourism.

PG&E, in its report, says it is evaluating the PSPS program and that it was done as a last resort for public safety.

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