I-TEAM: History of PG&E's power problems San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO -- After decades of issues for Pacific Gas and Electric, the new waves of expected power outages arrive. After state legislators deregulated the energy producers in 1996, the utility has suffered.
Four years down the line— the ideal power crisis confronted utilities. Energy producers have distorted markets that have caused a problem of power supply. Rolling black outs left almost 100,000 powerless customers in the Bay Area.
It's the time of year when the leaves turn and we're supposed to take shelter. Yet California's fall isn't what's used to be.
PG&E witnessed power shortages induced by this deregulation in June 2000. This left 97,000 clients in the Bay Area without power.
Governor Gray Davis declared a state of emergency in January 2001 when blackouts triggered by the energy crisis left hundreds of thousands of customers without electricity. Governor Davis spoke to me about the "rolling blackouts" from his office in Los Angeles.
"I have two Republican leaders or two Democratic leaders who all demanded that they raise rates because utilities were going broke. Well, the reason why utilities were going bankrupt was that the same energy companies were paying as $1,000 a megawatt hour instead of $15 a megawatt hour.
Another outage turned out on 1.5 million customers in March 2001. In May, another 167,000 had the lights going out two months later. Ultimately, the blackouts led to Governor Davis ' ouster. Voters blamed him for failing to resolve the energy crisis.
"Well, at the time, I recognized their issue with it," former Governor Davis said to me, "I couldn't convince people, ratepayers, that Enron, Dynegy, Reliant, Duke and the rest of the South are tearing them back.