California Lawmakers Push for Cell Backup After Fires

(TNS) — State legislators plan to push for measures to require at least 72 hours of backup power at cell towers after phone and internet service failed during widespread PG&E power outages.

Many cell towers have generators installed that can run days without refueling, but some have batteries that only last a few hours in locations where space limits or local regulations prohibit more. And in the middle of shut-offs or fire evacuations, companies can’t always access sites to install or refuel generators, cutting off service.

PG&E Cuts Power to 50K California Homes And Businesses During Wildfire Risk

About 50,000 homes and businesses across Northern California were without power on Wednesday during the latest planned outage instituted by utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to guard against risk of wildfire during dry, windy weather.

The precautionary shutoffs included considerably fewer customers than originally projected as a spokeswoman for the utility said improving weather conditions allowed them to keep the lights on in many areas.

Report on California Workers’ Comp Shows Steady Independent Medical Review Activity

More than 15,400 independent medical reviews a month are issued in California’s worker’s compensation system, according to a new report from the Department of Industrial Relations.

The DIR this week issued a progress report on the its independent medical review program. IMR is the medical dispute resolution process for the state’s workers’ comp system that uses medical expertise to obtain consistent, evidence-based decisions.

Bankrupt PG&E Has a New Plan for California Wildfire Victims

(TNS) — PG&E Corp., struggling to regain control of its destiny as its bankruptcy case enters a pivotal phase, sweetened its offer to Northern California wildfire victims Monday, putting billions of additional dollars on the table to settle claims.

Under increasing pressure from Gov. Gavin Newsom, the utility’s own bondholders and a consortium of municipalities trying to take over the company, PG&E said it would spend an additional $6.6 billion on wildfire claims, a move that could give the troubled utility a greater likelihood of surviving bankruptcy with its business intact.

900,000 Californians Prepare for Another Blackout Wednesday

(TNS) — More than 900,000 people in 25 California counties — including every Bay Area county but San Francisco — could lose power starting Wednesday as windy, dry conditions will greatly increase fire risk.

PG&E said Monday that 303,000 homes and businesses — each one roughly equivalent to 3 people — could be impacted as the company tries to stop its power lines from starting more fires. In the Bay Area, about 115,000 homes and businesses, equivalent to 345,000 people, could be impacted.

PG&E Warns of Possible Northern California Blackouts at Mid-Week

PG&E Corp. is warning a quarter-million homes and businesses could lose power in northern California starting Wednesday as high winds return to the region.

A fire weather watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for parts of northern California from late Tuesday night to Thursday morning. PG&E said in a statement overnight it may cut power to customers in the North Bay, North Valley and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada due to the forecast.

Nevada Hopes to Become a Model for Combating Wildfires in the West

(TNS) - Nevada’s political leadership is continuing to develop measures to combat the increasing threats posed by wildfires across American West and in the Silver State.

A committee of state lawmakers will begin meeting next year to discuss the effect wildfires have on Nevada, and to develop ideas for legislation to introduce in the 2021 session.

Latest PG&E Power Shutdown Left Marin County, Calif., with Safety Concerns

(TNS) - Last month’s power shutdowns by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. left nagging questions about Marin County’s communications system and whether senior housing facilities in the county are prepared for the next shutdown.

On Oct. 27, when PG&E switched off electricity to most of Marin, nearly 50 percent of the county’s cell phone transmission sites failed. The next day 57 percent of the cell sites, 134 transmitters, were down in Marin, and the day after that more than 35 percent of the sites remained offline. No other county in the state had its communications system disrupted to this extent by the power outage.

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