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Report a Power Outage
It is critical for us to be able to provide PG&E with an accurate report of outages and their impact on our community. If you have experienced an outage, please enter the details in the Power Outage Form. You can also use this form to report tree trimming and customer service problems.
Blackouts used to be a common occurrence for many Burlingame citizens and businesses. That changed when Terry formed a group of concerned citizens called Burlingamers Unwilling to Live with Blackouts (BULB).
Power outages started increasing in frequency during 2002 and became intolerable during the winter of 2002-03, when thousands of households experienced blackouts for one to four days. Residents suffered major hardships due to power failures. Homes were flooded when sump pumps failed and people with electrically powered medical equipment faced serious health hazards. People shivered in their homes, and cars and belongings in underground garages were ruined. But Burlingame residents got nowhere when they complained to Pacific Gas & Electric and City Hall.
After Terry formed Burlingamers Unwilling to Live with Blackouts (BULB) and members began meeting with PG&E on a regular basis, power service improved dramatically in Burlingame. Between 2002 and 2003, the average Burlingame household experienced an 85 percent decrease in outages. During 2003-04, PG&E:
Terry found that the key to getting PG&E’s attention was getting large numbers of citizens to turn out at meetings. More than 200 people attended a Town Hall Meeting that she arranged with representatives of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on December 16, 2002. At BULB’s urging, residents and businesses filed more than 250 written complaints with the CPUC.
Although PG&E was invited to that meeting, no PG&E representatives bothered to attend. Their absence angered then-CPUC Commissioner Carl Wood, who did attend, and he vowed to take action.
When Terry arranged another Town Hall Meeting on January 16, 2003, more than 250 citizens attended and this time PG&E representatives did show up. They promised to improve service to Burlingame, and they were true to that promise.
The Way It Might Be
On numerous occasions, Terry has suggested that PG&E and the CPUC make it possible for citizens to report power outages on PG&E and CPUC Web sites. She also favors standardizing the metrics that power companies use to report power reliability, so that consumers can see how their power company’s performance compares with others. It is impossible to compare performance at the present time, since every power company uses different metrics. Reliability performance is used to justify rate increases and bonuses for power company executives.