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FEATURING MELEIZA FIGUEROA – As Californians grapple with a new normal of a changing climate fueling deadly, rampaging wildfires, another problem is plaguing millions of the state’s residents, and that is the privately run utilities company Pacific Gas and Electric or PG&E, whose aging power lines have been responsible for many fires.

After last year’s record breaking Camp Fire that resulted in 85 deaths and the totally destroyed town of Paradise, this year PG&E has decided to preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of residents across the state. The company, who tried to give its executives millions of dollars in bonuses earlier this year, says Californians should expect blackouts for perhaps ten years before it replaces aging infrastructure. Some have now begun calling for the state to take over the company.

Meleiza Figueroa is a correspondent for Rising Up With Sonali. She’s also a PhD Candidate in Geography at UC Berkeley and Faculty owner at the Cooperative New School for Urban Studies and Environmental Justice. She has been a longtime political educator and organizer, involved in a wide range of movements for social and environmental justice in California.

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