Dozens of activists rallied outside the PG&E office in San Francisco to call on state leaders to take action against climate change.
In the wake of Public Safety Power Shutoffs happening throughout California, most recently in Sonoma County during the Kincade fire, many climate change activists have put their focus on PG&E, demanding the giant San Francisco-based utility be held accountable for its role in the recent wildfires.
Annual wildfires have filled the air with toxic smoke and driven down the quality of life for communities at the front lines. The activists want to see Gov. Gavin Newsom take action by divesting from the fossil fuel industry and supporting clean energy programs and grid resiliency.
“We are not fit for one entity to own our entire (energy) grid. First of all, it’s not safe to have these wires in the mountains,” said Tayse Crocker with North Bay Organizing Project. “But we have these deathtraps up there now that, in this extreme weather, are causing more and more fires every year for the past four or five years.”
Crocker, a Santa Rosa resident who said she had her power shut off for five days straight, added, “This is not a sustainable way of living and PG&E must be held accountable for this because they are the main culprit of it.”
“Our infrastructure is aging and crumbling and the folks up there are benefiting from it while the rest of us pay for it. And these shutoffs, they are technically due to climate change but they’re not an unavoidable aspect to it,” Nishi Sheorey, an organizer with the Democratic Socialists of America, said. “Climate change is happening and we need to adapt to it and PG&E is not adapting to it.”
Earlier this year, PG&E reached an $11 billion settlement with insurance companies to resolve claims resulting from 2017 and 2018 wildfires.
PG&E also recently filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan in another effort to compensate wildfire victims. The company said the plan filed would not raise or lower customers’ rates while compensating wildfire victims “fairly.”