SDG&E Wildfire Power Cut Plan Moves Forward - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

SDG&E Wildfire Power Cut Plan Moves Forward

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An administrative law judge has rejected a bid to stop San Diego Gas & Electric from asking for permission to shut off power to vast parts of the county during fire weather.

California Public Utilities Commission Judge Timothy Kenney said Tuesday that concerns over the plan will be handled in the coming weeks as the state utilities panel decides whether to approve it.

The utility, which is being sued for several massive firestorms, has said that shutting off power in rural areas during strong Santa Ana episodes and low humidity would greatly reduce the risk of another massive wildfire.

But opponents -- school and water districts, cable and telephone companies, and hospitals -- have argued that shutting off power would deprive residents of vital services. It was a coalition of such opponents that asked Kenney to throw out SDG&E's application to approve the plan, the Union-Tribune reported.

SDG&E's plan would cut power to more than 150,000 people beginning as early as September 1, if the plan is approved by the commission in August. However, it is not likely all 150,000 would lose power at the same time.

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