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Economic Development Board determines lost economic output during first PG&E planned power shutoff

SANTA ROSA, CA—Earlier this summer, The County of Sonoma (and additional regions throughout Northern California) were notified by Pacific Gas & Electric they would begin conducting Planned Power Shutoffs, as needed, during heightened wildfire hazard conditions.

As a result of the first power shutoff that occurred from October 9-11, 2019, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB) worked with data partner, Moody’s Analytics, to develop a multi-industry survey to gain a true understanding of the economic impact experienced by local businesses. In partnership with regional organizations, the survey was distributed countywide and received more than 550 responses. Questions in the survey included topics such as: business location, industry, and losses such as inventory, revenue, and employee wages.

Businesses were impacted in a variety of ways. Some experienced extensive losses due to being closed for more than 48 hours; others saw an uptick in business on what would have been an otherwise slow day. More than 350 written responses were received citing ways in which business owners felt they could have been less impacted by another planned power shutoff event.

“More clarity. We were not scheduled to be shut off, just on a high-risk warning. If we had more specific information, we could have properly prepared and moved temperature sensitive product before the shut off”.

“Recognition of the impact that reduction of commercial electrical power would have on cellular and internet service providers”.

“We were as prepared as we could be and mitigated most of the issues ahead of the shutoff. The 2017 fires got us better prepared for these outages, but the fact remains that the business is negatively affected”.

“The comments provided by the local business community were very insightful. Each suggestion will be considered and factored into how we can create a sense of proactive preparation amongst local businesses for events such as this” stated Sheba Person-Whitley, Executive Director of the EDB.

The Economic Development Board is sensitive to how the PG&E power shutoffs have impacted businesses across the region and is appreciative of the time taken by business owners and managers to provide feedback during a challenging time. The EDB continues to partner with local organizations to identify resources available for businesses to both prepare and recover from the impacts of power shut-offs.

Download Business Impact Survey Results

For more information on the most recent Business Recovery Guide from the EDB, visit www.SonomaEDB.org/BusinessRecoveryTools.

Or contact Communications Coordinator Lauren Cartwright
Phone (707) 565-7298
Email [email protected].

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