California's largest utility Pacific Gas and Electric to cut electricity to prevent fires

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We're starting today here in California where the lights will go out for close to a million people starting around midnight tonight it is hot dry and windy in northern California and the state's largest electric utility Pacific gas and electric says it'll turn off the power to prevent fires its power lines have caused or potentially caused several devastating wildfires in recent years but this'll be by far the state the biggest preventative power outage and as climate change makes fire seasons hurricanes and extreme weather worse across the country. This isn't an isolated story for homes schools and businesses marketplace's Megan McCarthy Carino has more on what happens when the plug gets pulled Becky Urbano is keeping a close eye on her phone so long as it's still has juice the Oakland resident has been alerted her home and two kids schools could lose power in the outage really we're kind of on call if power goes out we have to get the kids and they come home there's really no other option for us work will have to take the back seat for urban knows family and much of the region a report from utility research firm E source found power outages cost US businesses estimated twenty seven billion dollars a year you're Catherine Wolfram is an expert on energy policy at UC Berkeley which is also bracing for the outage she says events like these can really cripple business it's just not something that our economy is equipped to deal with at the university she says experiments have been cancelled in labs we'll have to throw out some perishable materials outages can have outsized effects on industries that rely on refrigeration like healthcare and food services in parts of the world where electricity is unreliable from says businesses have no choice but to incorporate the cost of backup power into their budgets upwards of ten thousand dollars for a commercial generator that becomes essential the attacks on the economy it's a cost that Knicks restaurant in Paradise California is willing to pay the town was almost completely destroyed in the it's deadliest wildfire in history last year now the restaurants got a backup generator to the backup generators says kitchen manager Joe Pickett throw that our food stays good and we still run Paninis and a coffee machine and it's the time and age where we've got to be ready for anything that comes part of the new business as usual for fire weary residents I megan Carino for marketplace

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