Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not So Fast...

SDG&E is rethinking its plan to simply cut off power to soem 45,000 customers when red flag conditions rear their ugly head. The PUC rebuffed the utility's request to amend Rule 14, but said that SDG&E is free to use its professional judgment when to turn off the juice.

The only problem is that "professinoal judgment"doesn't shield the company from lawsuits so, for now, the plan is on hold.

According to the Union Trib:

"On Oct. 2, SDG&E said that to prevent future fires, it planned to cut power to up to 45,000 customers in high-risk rural stretches of the county when humidity was low and winds were high. Most of the utility's 1.4 million customers would not be affected.

A week later, SDG&E put the policy on hold after water districts sued, school officials complained and SDG&E determined it hadn't notified all its customers who rely on electric medical equipment.

Critics of the plan said firefighters wouldn't have water when they needed it, telephones and radios wouldn't work and people on medical devices would suffer.

At the same time SDG&E rolled out the plan, it proposed changing Rule 14, the PUC regulation that specifies the circumstances under which it can cut off power and not be liable to customers for such outages."