California utility faces gripes over deliberate blackouts
LOS ANGELES — Even as the winds gusted dangerously just as forecasters predicted, California’s biggest utility faced gripes and secondguessing Thursday for shutting off electricity to millions of people to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires.
Pacific Gas & Electric, though, suggested it was already seeing the wisdom of its decision borne out. Gusts topping 75 mph raked the San Francisco Bay Area, and relatively small fires broke out around the state amid dry, windy weather.
PG&E cut power Wednesday to an estimated 2 million people in an area that spanned the wine country north of San Francisco to the agricultural Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada foothills. By Thursday, the number of people in the dark was about 1.5 million.