Editorial: Fixing PG&E's blackout problem

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State law requires PG&E to pay claims for economic damage caused by system failures.

EDITORIAL The electricity that San Franciscans buy from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. isn't just expensive — it's unreliable. That's what figures from the California Public Utilities Commission show (see "The blackout factor, page 8). In fact, PG&E has more blackouts than any of the public power agencies in the Bay Area.

That has a significant impact on local businesses — but neither City Hall nor the small business community is paying much attention to a multimillion dollar problem.

During the worst days of the California energy crisis, rolling blackouts were a regular event, and the press and public talked constantly about the impact of power outages on businesses and the economy. Now that the worst of that crisis is over, many blackouts get no news media attention at all. But the problem is still serious: reliable power is critical to most business in the Bay Area, and even short-term outages can hit the bottom line.