Lilac Fire: Powerful debate over SDG&E cutting off electricity - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Lilac Fire: Powerful debate over SDG&E cutting off electricity

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – When dry and windy weather moved in to San Diego last week, SDG&E cut power to areas of the back country.

The utility was hoping to lower the wildfire risk, but the move was criticized by some who said the decision put residents in a tough position.

For the Alibi Acres Kennel, which has a well that runs on electricity, no power means no water. “We have approximately 40 dogs here and they need to be cared for. They need water to be fed. They need facilities cleaned,” said Lei Plaut.

San Diego County Supervisor, Dianne Jacob said she was concerned about SDG&E’s decision. “Very, very concerned about SDG&E’s policy of proactively de-energizing or shutting off power in the areas – rural areas – where people, in many cases – the fire agencies – depend on well water.”

Multiple fire agencies told News 8 the water systems they rely on use gravity and not electricity, so SDG&E shutting off power has not hindered their efforts. It is bad news for residents who are trying to spray their own property.

SDG&E issued a statement saying in part: “We're deeply disappointed in Supervisor Jacobs' comments. It is insulting to our hardworking men and women who are dedicated to delivering safe and reliable energy, and keeping the public safe.”

Several residents, however, believe SDG&E is purposely leaving the power off longer than necessary as payback for recently losing a lawsuit to recoup – from customers - $379 million the utility had to pay for the fire ten years ago.

But several residents we spoke with think SDG&E is purposely leaving the power off longer than necessary - as payback for recently losing a lawsuit to recoup - from customers - 379 million dollars the utility had to pay for fires 10 years ago.

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