Newsom says PG&E agrees to offer credits amid shutoffs: ‘It’s the least they can do’

PG&E customers who recently experienced a power shutoff will get a rebate from the company, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Newsom revealed at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the bankrupt utility will offer some form of credits to customers who had their power shut off in an effort by the company to prevent wildfire outbreaks.

“Just a few hours ago, we made contact with PG&E, and they will begin the process of crediting customers for this disruption,” Newsom announced.

“This is significant because utilities in the past have never credited customers for these disruptions. We called for rebates, and the CEO just communicated with our staff that they are going to support some credits,” Newsom said, referring to PG&E CEO William Johnson.

Earlier this month, Newsom demanded PG&E give $100 to each of the hundreds of thousands of customers who experienced blackouts. He also urged PG&E to provide $250 to small businesses affected by the shutoffs.

PG&E at the time rejected Newsom’s request, saying the payments would complicate its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Late Tuesday, the company changed course and said it would give a “one-time bill credit” to customers affected by its Oct. 9 power shutoff.

“We understand that power shutoffs are more than an inconvenience for our customers, and we did not live up to their expectations when it came to communicating about this event,” the company said in a written statement.

The governor earlier in the day wrote on Twitter that the rebates are “the least they can do.”

The announcement from Newsom comes as California firefighters battle the Kincade fire in Sonoma County. State investigators have not yet made a conclusion about the cause of the fire, but PG&E has said it experienced transmission line problems close to the fire’s origin.

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Bryan Anderson is a political reporter for The Bee. He covers the California Legislature and reports on wildfires and transportation. He also hosts The Bee’s “California Nation” podcast.