SDG&E wants to shut down rural power during fire season

The state Public Utilities Commission could decide soon whether San Diego Gas and Electric can shut off power to some customers during high wildfire danger.

The utility wants to black out some rural residents when it’s hot, windy, and dry. SDG&E says it’ll help prevent wildfires if power lines snap in the wind. Southern California Edison shut down power to some of its customers in Idyllwild six years ago when dead trees threatened power lines. Steve Conroy is a spokesman for Edison.

Steve Conroy: "We certainly do have the power to shut off service if necessary but we certainly are not going to do it without making sure that we do this in conjunction with local fire officials who think it’s the right call to make. We think that’s important to align ourselves with local agencies, as well as customers and elected officials before doing so."

Critics say San Diego Gas and Electric’s plan would do more harm than good. The Public Utilities Commission says it won’t make a decision on the plan until at least September, but the utility said last week it will go ahead with the plan on September 1st whether there’s a ruling or not.