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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 5 - 7

Despite the power being out at my home for over a week, my losses were minimal — some ash and smoke problems at my home and loss of food. I’m forever grateful to the firefighters and many other staff and volunteers, as well as friends, family, and Ramekins staff and volunteers who provided access to electricity, meals and temporary housing.

I filed a claim for less than $200 with PG&E because I threw out food from my refrigerator that would have become moldy had it remained for eight days. The form asked for witnesses to the incident, thus I listed the Sonoma County Sheriff, Cal Fire, and Sonoma Fire Department, as well as PG&E employees.

On Nov. 24, I received an undated letter from PG&E stating they received my claim (for damaged food) and, “The investigation into the cause or causes of these fires is ongoing. Once the origin or origins of the fires has been determined, we will respond substantively to your claim. In the interim, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your claim, please do not hesitate to contact PG&E’s claims team at (415) 973-4548.” They included a website of resources: www.pgecommitment.com.

Within that website is a link to cpuc.ca.gov and PG&E Fire Incident Reports. Several of the redacted “Electric Safety Incident Reports” involve Napa and Sonoma counties on Oct. 8 and 9. This website also includes letters between PG&E and the CPUC concerning the fires and reports.

The CPUC stated in a Oct. 27 letter to Meredith E. Allen, senior director of regulatory relations at PG&E, that, “At present, the public interest that would be served by the disclosure of the specific location information for which PG&E requests confidential treatment is clearly outweighed by the public interest that would be served by withholding such information for the period of time needed to ensure that Cal Fire and others have an opportunity to complete the collection of evidence and information regarding the incidents without the potential that such processes could be impeded by the actions of others at the specific incident locations.”

I also believe that everyone in Sonoma, Glen Ellen, Kenwood and everywhere else has a right to know what caused the devastation. Hopefully, Cal Fire and other agencies complete their investigations soon.

Sherry Smith

Glen Ellen