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The Latest: California regulators open inquiry into outages

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a state investigation into preplanned power outages in California (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

California regulators have unanimously ordered an investigation into a dozen deliberate power outages that plunged millions of people into the dark last month.

The California Public Utilities Commission voted Wednesday at a short meeting in San Francisco after testimony from people pleading for regulation, planning and leadership.

Pacific Gas & Electric’s multiple rounds of outages were meant to prevent its equipment from igniting wildfires in windy weather and affected nearly 2.5 million people throughout Northern California.

The state's largest utility insisted on the shutoffs for public safety, but a parade of public officials complained that the company botched its communications.

Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric also shut off power but to far fewer people.

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12:01 a.m.

California regulators are voting Wednesday on whether to open an investigation into pre-emptive power outages that blacked out large parts of the state for much of October as strong winds sparked fears of wildfires.

The state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., initiated multiple rounds of shut-offs that plunged nearly 2.5 million people into darkness throughout northern and central California.

PG&E officials insisted on the shut-offs to prevent wildfires but a parade of public officials complained the company botched its communications.

Southern California Edison Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. also shut off power but to far fewer people.

California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer ordered the investigation, saying the state cannot continue to experience widespread blackouts.

A vote by the five-member commission is required.

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AP Business Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this report.

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