Senator Josh Becker
Dear Friends,

Many of you have contacted my office expressing your frustration and anger over the recent prolonged PG&E power outages brought about by wind and rainstorms throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. You are asking why it takes so long to restore power, can you be reimbursed for food that is spoiled or other expenses incurred during the outages, and most importantly how will the utility keep these outages from happening again?  

I understand your frustration—I, too, lost power at my home for several days—and I am working with my fellow local legislators to hold PG&E accountable and to demand better communication before, during and after these outages. The physical, mental and financial toll these outages have taken on thousands of residents in San Mateo and San Mateo counties cannot be underestimated, and PG&E must respond to these serious problems.

At its peak last week, roughly 610,000 customers were impacted by this historic weather event that brought winds, rain and damage to PG&E equipment. While I appreciate the work that utility crews need to perform to safely inspect the electric system for damage caused by wind, trees and other debris before service can be restored, customers need to be kept updated on the progress via text message, email or phone call from PG&E.

Customers deserve regular notifications with as much information as possible and REGULAR updates telling us when power will be restored, and how to seek out services in cases of prolonged outages.  I certainly appreciate that this year’s storms are unprecedented, and that the utility has not experienced these number of outages or duration of outages since 1995.  However, this is a call to PG&E to improve resiliency of the system and improve the communication to residents during these events. PG&E also needs to have a fair and accurate process for reimbursement of costs incurred by residents who need to seek shelter elsewhere and replace food items lost when the power was out.

For information on the PG&E Safety Net program which offers payments to residential customers who are without power for more than 48 hours, click here. For other outage compensation claims, click here

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call my office at (650) 212-3313.


Josh Becker
State Senator, 13th District