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California Utilities Commission to Investigate Safety Power Shut-Offs Amid Wildfires

© AP Photo / Noah BergerПриродный пожар в Гвинде, Калифорния
Природный пожар в Гвинде, Калифорния - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is launching an investigation into multiple power shut-offs imposed this month by utilities amid major wildfires in the state, CPUC said in a statement.
"After another unprecedented series of Public Safety Power Shut-offs (PSPS) and historic wind events creating red flag warnings throughout much of the state, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today is taking additional urgent actions focused on public health and safety to drive down risks of ignitions from utility infrastructure, risks that result from power loss, and the disruption to communities and commerce", CPUC said in a statement on Monday.

According to the release, an investigation will be opened in the next 30 days into the safety power outages and utility compliance with CPUC regulations. The current Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) protocol will also be re-examined.

"The state cannot continue to experience PSPS events on the scope and scale Californians have experienced this month, nor should Californians be subject to the poor execution that PG&E, in particular, has exhibited", CPUC President Marybel Batjer stressed on Monday, as quoted in the release.

CPUC has stated that it will ensure that utilities do not collect charges from customers during safety power shut-offs. The commission has also pointed out that it will focus on working to increase the safe performance of utilities and reduce the need for safety power shut-off events in California.

California announced a state of emergency earlier this month amid major wildfires that have forced thousands of people to evacuate. About a million Californians were still without electricity as of Saturday, local media reports.

According to state authorities, the California wildfire, which has been burning since 23 October, has grown to 85 square miles (220 square kilometres), damaged 94 buildings, and is threatening another 80,000 houses - including parts of the city of Santa Rosa.

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