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All PG&E customers have power restored after 'public safety' outage

Evie Fordham

Power is back on for all customers who lost electricity as a part of California utility Pacific Gas & Electric's "public safety" shutoff designed to limit the effect of high wind on wildfires, the company said Saturday evening.

PG&E began proactively shutting off approximately 738,000 California customers' power ahead of high winds that were expected on Wednesday morning.

PG&E initiated the shutoff so that any power lines damaged by the winds would not contribute to the spread of wildfires. The decision was widely seen as a play to limit liability.

The shutoff affected customers in 34 counties, and Amador and Calaveras counties were the last areas to get power back. PG&E doesn't know exactly how many people were affected by the shutoff because its customer tally counts individual meters, not the number of people in a household.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday lambasted PG&E for the blackouts that have left hundreds of thousands of people without power this week.

"This is not a climate change story as much as a story about greed and mismanagement over the course of decades. Neglect, a desire to advance not public safety but profits,” Newsom said during a press conference.

Area business owners were not happy with PG&E's decision.

Business owner Ed Susman of Equilibrium Tuning estimated he'd lose around $5,000 on day one of the shutdown alone. His shop is located halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento.

"We had to shut down the shop. I had to send my employees home and try to contact my customers to tell them we can't service them today. We don't know when this is going to be over because PG&E left it open," Susman told FOX Business on Wednesday.

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"We understand the effect this event can have on our customers," PG&E spokeswoman Kristi Jourdan told FOX Business on Wednesday. "We don't take this action lightly."

In Southern California, three deaths have been linked to two wildfires as of Saturday.

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