PG&E might reimburse California for emergency resources tapped during October blackouts

State News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) — California may be getting some payback for the many resources the state pulled together when Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to millions of people in October.

“Our piece was managing the consequences of that,” said Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci. “And part of that was their responsibility as well, so we were holding them accountable for that, as well as, where they could not meet the need — and it was a lot — we were stepping in with state assets and state resources to be able to do that.”

Aside from activating the Emergency Operations Center and taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to the blackout, Ghilarducci noted, for the first time ever, the state provided aircraft assets from the California Highway Patrol and National Guard to help PG&E assess its equipment to quickly restore power.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency typically reimburses the state for emergency operations cost when a disaster hits, but because the blackouts weren’t considered a disaster, taxpayers could be left wondering who is covering these costs.

“There is some reimbursement that’s been taking place by the utilities to address some of the needs that we’ve provided them,” said Ghilarducci.

Ghilarducci did not get specific, saying he doesn’t worry about the money so much as he does to responding to public safety.

PG&E recently reported it took a substantial hit in the last financial quarter.

The utility is bracing itself for possibly incurring up to $6.3 billion in costs this year related to recent events. $90 million of that is expected to go to customers affected by the Oct. 9 blackout.

How much could go to the state is still to be seen. PG&E did not respond to request for details and comment Monday.

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