PG&E is under investigation as blackouts roll across California, leaving many residents in the dark for an indefinite amount of time. The blackouts are the power giant’s solution to dangerous sparking power lines caused by high winds. These sparks have been blamed for many of the wildfires that have devastated California and caused billions of dollars in damage.
PG&E is in the position of being held responsible for its power lines starting the fires that have devastated California and caused over 80 deaths. As a result, they have instituted blackouts. Their solution to the “problem” of burning down homes with sparks from their power lines is to simply shut off power to thousands of their customers in California. This major inconvenience comes without much recourse for their customers. As blackouts stretch for hours and even days, their customers are without basic utilities such as water, household appliances, phones, and even running water. They have low cell phone batteries with no way to charge them, no way to wash their clothes, and – significantly – no way to keep their food in their refrigerators from spoiling.
Blackouts are causing outrage from citizens experiencing unreliable services. And even as PG&E cuts off the power, which in some cases results in cell tower malfunctions, the fires continue to rage.
“PG&E has been turning off power across vast parts of its service area during high winds because fallen power lines are a major cause of wildfires. The blackouts have drawn widespread criticism. But if PG&E, fearful of the backlash, limits the scope of its power cuts, there could be more fires,” The New York Times reports.
Here’s what PG&E’s CEO had to say about the rampant food insecurity.
As the state struggles, the most vulnerable of its citizens suffer as their hard-earned money gets thrown in the garbage in the form of rotten food from fridges without power. To say that PG&E is not sympathetic is an understatement.
Dan Noyes of ABC News asked PG&E President and CEO Bill Johnson some tough questions about the strain the blackouts are putting on families:
Noyes: “What do you say to people who just can’t afford to restock their fridges and are losing all this food they’ve had in their households after these shut offs?”
Johnson: “These events can be hard on people, really hard on people, particularly people who have struggles anyways and there are community-based things you can do, food banks, these kind of things. But for us, you know the main thing is we didn’t cause any fires, we didn’t, for these people we didn’t burn down any houses, the Kincade fire is still under investigation, I got that, but one of the things we did was give them the opportunity to actually refill their refrigerator ’cause their house is still there.” (source)
These out-of-touch comments from PG&E CEO Bill Johnson – who earns over $2 Million per year – have sparked outrage.
Here are some social media comments shared by ABC 30:
“At least we didn’t burn your house down’ is not a good look in an argument.”
“This is what arrogance looks like.”
“Your CEO should be fired for this tone-deaf statement.”
“He has a base salary of $2.5 million and this answers sounds exactly like it. I can’t stand this company.” (source)
PG&E’s CEO made a comment that shows he is completely out of touch.
Comments like these only force perspective on the widening divide in California between people who can afford to live there and those who have to choose between rent and food. CA is the state with the most food production, and ironically, has the highest rate of food security in the United States:
California’s not just producing enough to feed the nation, it’s growing enough to help feed the rest of the world, yet the state has the largest number of food-insecure households in the US.
The tragic irony is that an estimated 4.9 million people living in the state that feeds much of the country and the world are going hungry…
Despite being the world’s fifth-largest economy — one spot ahead of the entire United Kingdom — California has the largest number of people in poverty in the US. And for the majority of California’s 7.5 million poorest, their biggest expense is housing. (source)
So no, Mr. Johnson. Many families in CA cannot afford to replace the food that spoiled in their refrigerators.
Many decried his statement that those with spoiled food should look to food banks. That’s not what food banks are for.
These are comments from Paul Ash, San Francisco/Marin Food Bank’s Executive Director:
“Our major role is to feed low-income people,” he said. “And when we get pulled away from that to kind of move into disaster mode, that takes away from that effort. So I was sorry to hear him think of food banks as a way to refill refrigerators after a fire, that’s not quite the spirit we hope to have.” (source)
Things are looking bleak for low-income CA residents struggling with wildfires and blackouts. PG&E has added one more thing to a long list of hardships and they seem unrepentant. The rolling blackouts instituted by the power company in order to prevent wildfires has caused a food crisis in many homes that PG&E responded to with a callous and cavalier attitude.
Hard-earned money spent by low-income families often goes first to housing and then to food with little wiggle room. What are they supposed to do when the food that they worked so hard for becomes inedible? Food banks are already stretched thin, and it’s not their job to fix PG&E’s disastrous mess. I’m not sure what the CEO of PG&E is thinking with comments like those reported, but they are so out of touch he might as well be telling suffering CA residents, “are there no poor houses?” It seems like this close to the holiday season, they would have more empathy than Ebenezer Scrooge.
What do you think?
What do you think of the callous comments from the CEO of PG&E? Do you find them outrageous or reasonable? Do you keep plenty of non-perishable food items in your stockpile just in case an event like this happens in your area? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
About Jenny Jayne
Jenny Jayne is the mother of two wonderful boys on the Autism spectrum and is passionate about Autism Advocacy. She is a novelist who writes Post-apocalyptic fiction and a freelance writer. Her first novel is coming soon to Kindle eBooks near you. Her guilty pleasures are preparing for hurricanes, drinking hot coffee, eating milk chocolate, reading romances, and watching The Office for the 50th time. Her website: https://jennyjayneauthor.wordpress.com/
A way to make a no-electricity “refrigerator” is to buy or make two unglazed earthenware pots, with one smaller than the other. Choose the sizes so that there is at least an inch of space in between the sides of the pots when they’re stacked. Make or buy a lid for the smaller pot. Fill the smaller pot with food you want to keep cold, and set it inside the larger pot. Put the lid on the smaller pot. Fill the larger pot with water, until the water line is just a couple of inches below the rim of the larger pot. To be clear, the smaller pot will take up most of the volume of the larger pot, and the water needed is therefore much less than the volume of the larger pot if it were empty.
The water will seep through the sides of the larger pot and evaporate, thus cooling the smaller pot and its contents. Because the air in California is mostly dry, the evaporation should be adequate to maintain temperatures approaching 40°F within the smaller pot. Don’t open the lid too often, and use up the food in a sensible schedule. But at least, for the price of two relatively large unglazed earthenware pots, you won’t have to replace all your food.
Yes, the Zeer Pot will enable some cool temps. BUT, the contents of ones freezer will not survive this. Unless you have many, many, many unglazed pots
Typical Ucaring Unempathetic Rich Person.
Not only homes, but businesses will be closed…. that means no work equals less money to replace food.
He’s so out of touch with “real” people’s needs. Sad.
While the CEO’s comments were pretty dumb, the one thing people living in CA have to realize is this is the new normal.
Until the issue of outdated equipment, or the necessary clearing of undergrowth, or burying power lines (all of which will require major rate hikes), people need to prep every year for wildfire season.
That means having a BOB at the ready.
Have a plan to get out of the area, in 5 minutes or less, and dont forget the pets.
Have an extra supply of bottled water on hand, both in the house and in the car.
When wildfire season is about to start, reduce the amount of perishable foods in the fridge and freezer, and move to more non-perishable foods. Or stopping at the grocery store on the way home from work to get that evenings dinner meal items only. Get the fridge and freezer down to the point it is nearly empty.
Unfortunately, many people seem to forget what can happen, year to year.
Or the, “I shouldn’t have too!” argument.
Does not reflect the new normal.
Very good info.
I was thinking the same thing… there’s a lot to be said for having dry goods and canned or fresh foods that don’t need refrigeration and an alternative way to cook them. California needs to get a grip on this situation.
Take a good look at this demon’s eyes – have you seen this before? It would be fascinating to see the cocktail of meds he takes when he rolls out of bed (perhaps he sleeps hanging upside down) . I’d say a couple lines of coke, and ketamine to kick things off…
So, why aren’t they busy sending crews out to clear the undergrowth and tress that are around the power lines ?? Sure it’s a big job , but how long do they think their customers want to continue workout reliable electricity? If nothing elae they could recruit non violent prisioners to help with the work. It would help off set our providing for their needs in prison. Get something for our tax dollars ????
Not trying to defend the SOB–but unfortunately clearing brush, etc., is sometimes–often?–blocked by misguided environmentalism. The mentality that says humans mustn’t cut, trim, clear, anything in Nature. I’ve read somewhere recently that California regulations prevent the clearing of growth under and around power lines that would significantly lower the risk of fires caused by power lines–not to mention preventing the old forestry practices (including maintaining lumber roads which provide firebreaks as well as access for fire fighters).
I live south of redding ca, we have had about 10 tree inspectors come by, another one out there today, they have been in the area for almost one year now !! all the b.s. inspection got us one tree trimmed! this incredible waste will bankrupt this company.
What are they supposed to do when the food that they worked so hard for becomes inedible?
Possibly get real food, not the junk food that needs constant refrigeration.
There is half the problem.
canned food, rice pasta ect.
I know from camping that eggs last for days with no cold.
fresh foods last un cooled for a few days.
What exactly is that CEO supposed to say ?
I’ll fix all the problems right away ??
The problem the libs running the state caused through decades are no problem al all??
Much rolls downhill to personal responsibility.
While it’s true that people should take responsibility for buying foods that don’t require freezing or refrigeration, especially since they knew that the power would be off for extended periods of time, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the power will not be cut on a regular basis until the utility gets their stuff together.
The CEO should be all over this problem like white on rice, instead of making tone deaf pronouncements. The $2.5M bucks stop with him.
The electric company must turn off the power to help stop the wildfires. His personal salary has nothing to do with this situation. This article is purposely class inflammatory. He pointed out that it is more important to stop the fires and saving a home Is very important. He did not say he was not sympathetic to food struggles. The food shelf is for all who need it . Now that fires have caused food insecurity in more people the food must be shared. Yes the utility could and should donate to food shelves. If the fires continue the utility will be broke then you have a long term problem folks. California socialist voting and politics have caused the disaster of economics in California. The fires are the straw breaking the camels back. The national emergency center is now saying that people have to plan for themselves with food reserves. If power is a problem plan your reserves that don’t need refrigeration. Also plan for the future of your state by lowering taxes so companies can make money and provide jobs, require people to have jobs and limit immigration to levels that the state can afford to support. Start prepping to provide for yourself as soon as possible. The American way is take care of yourself ,work hard and help others as you are able. Socialism and Marxism is the way to true misery. Venezuela here we come. Does any one have a site set up where we can donate to the food shelves? JR
I agree with you. What he meant to say (although he did it poorly) is that it is more important to turn off the electricity so you don’t get another Camp Fire in which 86 people died and many, many people lost their homes. However, he certainly could have said it better, and I also agree that company donations to replenish sources of food would be useful–although I think that company is going bankrupt, no? I am not sure they are going to be around much longer in their current form. Yes, he could donate more of his personal salary, but that would be a drop in the bucket in what might be needed to “fix” this problem. I am not even sure how you could fix it. Can you bury electric lines in hilly terrain? I watched the Netflix special on “Paradise” and it looked like a hilly place to me. The new normal is a big problem.
We had One day of wind! power was off 4 days !
i lived in north cal for many years. the utilities have never been allowed enough rate hike to keep up with maintenance such as tree and brush trim. nor have they proper allowance for replacement of aging equipment. pg&e has bankrupted already, in part over the way gov’t regs came down.
nobody wants to pay the real costs of food or services, so we end up with pg&e turning off power, junk foods rotting in warm refrigerators, unsafe water that wasn’t tested due to budget constraints, substandard products, etc.
in short, we must rely on ourselves, not gov’t. we must think, and plan, and do!
Right! also towns without power shut down businesses so many were without work. Schools were shut, kids were home no electricity to cook or even shower, do laundry, many without water, livestock etc etc the cost is great
elect democrats, this is what you stupid democrat voters get,more democrats,more stupidity,californions are not a smart group of people
Unfortunately you are correct about your comment that Californians dont make good choices. However I urge you to consider the fact that there is a huge area in the massive state of California that is rural and the majority of the people in those places do not share the brainwashed opinions of the citizens that live in the populated areas such as San Fran, or Los Angeles etc. Please do not assume that you can just lump everyone in the state into one catagory. There are alot of good patriots here who will be fighting along side you when shtf. Our state has been bought off for a long time, and if you are not carefull, your state will follow soon. It is shallow to think that the people under a government are like that government.
This a$$hole is cut from the VERY SAME cloth as that Nestle CEO a$$hole who said that “water is not a human right”….
I’d like to ad a view insights as a former resident Native of California.
First, we had steam driven power plants, but the AQMD closed them. Even with scrubbers in the stacks, they did not meet the Air Quality boards emission standards, even if all that was coming out of them was 100% water vapor.
Many municipalities (Glendale, Huntington Beach and hundreds more) were forced to expend community resources to keep the plants open.. however, AQMD wanted them closed. Now they are.
Since these closed, PG&E now have a monopoly on electricty in the state. Which is I feel, why they were all closed in the first place. Graft in high places? You Betcha.
All the electricity generated by those big power rigs in the Coachella Valley? We don’t get one single watt from those, it all gets shipped out of state. Thank you Governor Brown (scarcasm) Gov Brown Jr sealed the geysers that could have supported geothermal under tons of concrete supposedly for a geothermal plant, Geyserville at the bribe from PG&E.
PG&E has the best retirement in the known universe. Better than any other business. If you work for PG&E management, it’s Golden Parachute Time.. It isn’t unusual in upscale neighborhood to have a PG&E retiree buy a house, gut it and then enjoy their retirement in style. When other retirement packages go bust, PG&E just increased theirs.
For Decades PG&E has solidified it’s position as a monopoly in California.
Even if you have solar panels, I have not met 1 Single person who doesn’t pay a year end stipend to this company. Oh they couch it in “Line use fees” or other service fees, but if you put in solar, you are 100% legally forced to connect to their grid and pay these usage fees. Even if it is their stealing your electricity at rock bottom rates, it doesn’t matter. Your roof, your money into the solar panels and they reap the rewards because it is against the law to go off grid in ALL communities within the state.
The money for all these fees wasn’t put back into the infrastructure. It has been systemtically looted and put in the pockets of the managment past and present.
Of course, it was the corrupt politicians who gave them this power, and with the current governor I don’t see it ending in the foreseeable future.
A psychopath says….
But hey look on the bright side at least PG&E isn’t liable.
Let them eat cake!
Piece of arrogant [email protected]
You know, this is a VERY BAD sign when the rich and privileged start talking like that. If I were you I would get ready for a SHTF scenario.
The arrogance of Demoncrap treason trying to push Trump out is unbelievable too. But keep your wits. They are a small group but hold a lot of power but only because we let them.
We can change that if we want to. How much comfort are you willing to give up for it? To get this infestation out of Congress?
For that’s what it is.
I agree with the people commenting that this article is unnecessarily inflammatory. He was NOT saying, “Let them eat cake.”
There are many problems with the PG&E situation, most of which are caused by the idiotic and corrupt CA govt. People have already mentioned the environmental regs. Worse, to hold the utilities responsible for every fire is thoroughly corrupt, particularly when it’s obvious that many of these fires were set.
Regardless, accidents happen. If all accidents are attributed to negligence, the only course of action for the utilities is to turn off the juice. Do you think the state govt didn’t know this? San Diego Light and Power has been using black outs for years due to this blame game. PG&E was going to turn off the power before the Paradise fire last year, when the state govt stepped in and told them not to. Why isn’t the state govt being held accountable but PG&E is? Corruption.
There’s a depopulation agenda underway.
My family and I are in El Dorado County California, we are low income (family of 4 adults living in a 29 ft RV) and we scrape to feed ourselves without any assistance as we don’t want to burden our fellow taxpayers, we have enough people in our state that do that. My county is pretty Conservative and our voices just are not loud enough to beat back LA, SF and Sac. The idiot governer and many other lib politicians are in pg&e’s pocket, they publicly deride them but they still take money. Through the last outage fires still sparked, so their plan didn’t work. In talking to many folks there is a growing consensus that we should look into a public utility rather than private…however, I do not know if that is what a company wants to take on- the years of mismanagement of the forests and the aging infrastructure that pge refuses to fix, they would rather line their own pockets and keep libs in charge. There is a movement here, the State of Jefferson, many people are involved in making this happen, I believe its 14 counties here in Northern California- we want to break from California…I really hope it can happen, and soon…some of us are withering on the vine- no way to escape, and where would we go?
A full freezer is more energy efficient.
Food that is frozen can be preserved by being pressured canned or water bath canned; meats can also be “cured” in salt or sugar based brines, or smoked and/or desiccated; veggies and fruits can be fermented, desiccated.
All of the above can be done without electricity, if you have the knowledge, willingness to put forth the effort.
Mr. PG&E appears as a self-glorified incompetent societal burden.
Considering that at least one of the many fires WAS caused by a PG&E transformer that caught fire because no one shut it down, this bum has a hell of a lot of nerve palming the responsibility of people losing their hard earned groceries off onto food banks.
Marie Antoinette had nothing on him – when she said “Let them eat cake” she was a dippy out of the loop teenager with a sketchy acquaintance with the language of her husband’s country. This guy is just either stupid or arrogant.
Either way, he better be looking for a new job. The shareholders will be looking for a fall guy, especially once the wrongful death lawsuits begin coming against PG&E. The state may be filing suit against them soon too… couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people.
I think one of the things that gets lost in this conversation is that 80% of the forests that must be cleared of combustible debris in CA are federal land. So the federal government needs to clear their land along with CA’s combustible fuel sources. Blaming CA alone is wrong. Also some of the areas being burned are non-forested areas. It is up to the land owners to fix their areas as well. PG&E needs to clear trees near their power lines and to ensure that their infrastructure is capable of withstanding the environmental factors. And their blackouts need to be done with timely information prior to the blackout period.
I was happy to find your website. What an outrageous comment from PGE’s CEO. But it also got me to thinking that maybe these fires are more politically oriented. Few fires in democratic areas, but lots in Republican areas. Hmmm. No proof yet, but it makes me wonder. It is known that the Rothschild Bank owns controlling interest in PGE, and Agenda 21 is wanting to move us off the land and into more controllable cities.
I agree that the CEO sounds a bit tone deaf but unfortunately PG&E is in a no win situation. They are a state regulated utility who is required to turn off power when the winds reach a certain level. They are also being sued for any part they may have had in the past fires of the last few years. Their lines go over property they don’t always have any control over and “everyone” seems to love the natural look of lots of trees and brush resulting in little if any defensible space around buildings. I’m a Cal. native who moved out 20 years ago and still have family in the state that are being affected, one a former firefighter who informed me about the importance of having a place where they can make a stand to save your house. Everyone has skin in this game and it’s going to take everyone to work it out.
I don’t think what he said is all that bad, honestly. I was expecting something much worse.
Will you look at the crazy eyes on this guy! New subscriber & so thankful for the work you’re doing! I’m learning a lot! God bless!