SACRAMENTO (AP) — When the nation's largest electric utility preemptively shut off power last fall to prevent wildfires in California, customers lost more than just their lights — some lost their phones, too.
Data from the Federal Communications Commission shows 874 cellphone towers were offline during an Oct. 27 power shutoff that affected millions of people. That included more than half of the cell towers in Marin County alone.
On Wednesday, some Democratic lawmakers revealed legislation to force telecommunication companies to have at least 72 hours of back-up power for all cellphone towers in high-risk fire areas. Telecom companies would have to pay for it, but the bill would not stop companies from passing along those costs to their customers.