California Utility Wants to Cut Power Before Wildfires

California regulators are set to decide whether a utility can cut electricity to San Diego-area bedroom communities when weather is ripe for major wildfires.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. wants authority to cut power to 60,000 homes and businesses in dry, windy weather — before fires hit. The utility’s power lines have been blamed for causing devastating wildfires two years ago. It claims those fires probably wouldn’t have happened if the shutoff plan were in effect.

Critics note that a number of systems would fail immediately or within hours: life-critical medical devices, water pumps, phones, televisions, garage door openers, traffic lights.

The California Public Utilities Commission meets this week in San Francisco.