Energy

Gov Gavin Newsom Struggles To Stay In Control As California Goes Dark, Wildfires Spread, And Gas Prices Spike

REUTERS/ Mike Blake

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is warning citizens that they could be in for a long weekend as the state’s public utility announced Saturday plans to shut down huge sections of the electric grid.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s move could black out an estimated 940,000 homes and businesses in parts of more than 30 counties up and down California. PG&E is trying to prevent potential wildfires from spreading through the state while keeping tabs on downed power lines.

Newsom, who is under pressure as gas prices increase, told Californians things are going to be tough for the next few days.

“The next 72 hours will be challenging,” the Democrat said at a news conference. “I could sugarcoat it, but I will not.”

The rolling blackouts could surpass those of the 750,000 customers who dealt with similar shut-offs earlier in October. Newsom started to circulate blame for many of the problems Californians are facing, including the blackouts and rising gas prices.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California State Capitol on March 13, 2019 in Sacramento, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California State Capitol on March 13, 2019 in Sacramento, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“These are difficult calls,” he said at Saturday’s conference. “But a society as industrious and entrepreneurial and innovative as ours should not have to face a choice between public safety and public blackouts. We can do both together. And that is what path we are on.”

Newsom also lit into PG&E. (RELATED: Gavin Newsom Stumped By High Gas Prices In California — Where Gas Taxes Outstrip The Other 49 States)

“It’s more than just climate change. It’s about the failure of capitalism to address climate change,” he told reporters Friday as he spoke about the utility’s continued use of rolling blackouts.

Newsom also leaned in on oil companies as the state faces staggering gas prices.

The Democratic governor asked his attorney general Oct. 23 to investigate oil companies for conspiring to keep gas prices artificially high. Newsom based his request on a report suggesting California drivers are paying $1 more per gallon of gasoline than the rest of the country, according to The Associated Press.

As for the blackouts, PG&E said the utility is keeping tabs on wind conditions.

“We are working vigilantly to forecast conditions, and the weather is dynamic and changing,” PG&E spokeswoman Suzanne Hosn said in a statement Saturday. “We are adjusting start times based on the weather forecast.”

Newsom’s office has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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