San Bernardino – The following is a statement by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes relating to the impact of the Public Safety Power Shutoff on the communities of the 47th Assembly District, specifically Rialto, Fontana and San Bernardino:
“Over the weekend several thousand Southern California Edison customers in my district were impacted by the power shutoffs. In the coming days due the fire danger posed by increasing winds potentially more customers could be impacted in the region. As a member of the Assembly Utilities Committee I have been engaged in reviewing efforts by utilities, state and local government and other stakeholders to reduce the fire danger associated with utility infrastructure. Shutting down the power supply to at-risk areas during extreme weather can be a prudent strategy to prevent catastrophic destruction and even death from potential fires. However, I am deeply concerned with the implementation of the power shut-offs in our region and around the state. The decision to shut off power to residential and business customers should be a strategic decision that is targeted as specifically as possible to limit unnecessary impacts. Unfortunately, based on the feedback I am receiving from constituents in my district these shutoffs appear to be applied overly broad and without sufficient warning to residential and business customers whose lives and businesses are severely disrupted by these shutoffs.
I am calling on Southern California Edison to work with local residents and businesses to limit unnecessary impacts from these shut-offs and provide assistance to those that have had their lives and businesses negatively impacted by these shutoffs. While it may be reasonable to shut off power in extreme weather conditions it is not reasonable that utility customers should have to suffer the costs related to spoiled food and lost business. The current circumstances are a stark reminder that the utilities must invest in grid safety before occurrence of severe weather events as prevention will always remain the most effective option.”