Power company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) implemented their Public Safety Power Shutoff to hundreds of thousands of California residents on Oct. 9 and 10 in an effort to reduce the chances of starting a wildfire, according to the New York Times.
Last October, the company warned customers it might shut off power but ended up not doing so. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, this resulted in PG&E's power lines causing the 2018 California Camp Fire, which killed 85 people, according to the New York Times.
This June, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection also released a report and found PG&E's equipment responsible for 13 of the northern California wildfires that occurred in Oct. 2017.
The company has also stated it could face up $30 billion in liabilities and declared bankruptcy earlier this year, according to the New York Times.
In a news release from Oct. 8, PG&E claimed that the "widespread severe wind event" lead to the company choosing to shut off power to prevent wildfires in the area.
However, the company received backlash, as things did not go according to plan. PG&E's website went down and their communications systems faltered. Residents were unsure whether they would be affected by the power outage and customers were put on hold with the company for hours, according to the New York Times.
“All of the traffic lights were out... There was no light directing traffic flow," said Will Tillman, a junior English major. "The whole process of PG&E shutting down power felt questionable after because we didn't experience the winds they were expecting to impact power lines."
Even California Governor Gavin Newsom, who initially claimed the shut off as "the new normal," changed his views. “What has occurred in the last 48 hours is unacceptable," said Newsom to reporters, according to the LA Times.
Power was restored to all customers by Oct. 12, according to PG&E's twitter.