The October 2019 PG&E PSPS Website Failure
From October 8th to October 12th, 2019, PG&E planned its largest pre-emptive power shutoff event (PSPS) ever attempted by a utility in anticipation of an extreme Diablo wind event. As the event approached, performance of the PG&E website, a primary outlet for PSPS information, degraded and key components ultimately failed. As part of a CPUC proceeding investigating PG&E's October 2019 event, M-bar's expert prepared testimony and briefing for MGRA on the PG&E website failure. Our findings: PG&E's failure was at the root a lack of customer empathy. PG&E did not understand how its customers would use its website during a power shutoff event, and as a result under-estimated required capacity, failed to implement performance testing, and missed a key warning sign that could have helped it avoid the outage.