Should Companies Be Deeply Obsessed with Helping Customers?
He also blamed PG&E for its “deep-rooted obsession for keeping power flowing,” which he said could be blamed for allowing its equipment to ignite wildfires despite forecasts for hazardous weather and, starting in 2019, a power shutoff strategy.
This is from Julie Johnson, “Judge fires parting shots at PG&E as the utility’s probation comes to end,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2022.
“He” in the above is U.S. District Judge William Alsup, pictured above. PG&E is Pacific Gas and Electric, which provides much of the natural gas and electricity between central California, where I live, and northern California.
Alsup’s upset is about PG&E being obsessed with providing something that it has promised to provide its customers, something that we customers really value.
I get that Alsup is upset that PG&E hasn’t cleared brush and trees as much as he would like. I don’t know if he knows that with all the state and local regulations, that’s often easier said than done. Years ago, when a branch on our tree was rubbing against our power line, I called PG&E and asked them to come out. The guy was very nice and cut a couple of small branches, telling me all the while that he might be breaking the law, and encouraging me to pay a couple of hundred dollars to the Pacific Grove city government for permission to cut the branches further myself.
That was about 15 years ago. Maybe the regulations have been loosened since then, but I doubt it.
Beyond that issue, though, I found Alsup’s comment stunning. I don’t know about him. Maybe he has solar panels that provide enough electricity for all his house uses. I don’t. And solar is not a sure thing.
So I appreciate PG&E’s obsession “for keeping power flowing” just as I appreciate my local Safeway’s and Lucky’s obsession with stocking their shelves.