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Power outages hit some of state’s poorest communities hard

PG&E’s unprecedented blackouts over the past month have hit especially hard in some of Northern California’s poorest communities, stripping electricity from hundreds of thousands of people who can least afford to be without it, according to state data reviewed by The Chronicle.

…Jessica Bartholow, a policy advocate with the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said prolonged outages can create a domino effect. Businesses close and people lose their paychecks. Schools or day cares close and people are forced to pay more for child care, or meals that would ordinarily be served at school. Those increased and unexpected costs can threaten a family’s ability to pay for rent or medical needs.

“Disaster is hard for anyone to get through, but it could be the last straw for people living in poverty,” Bartholow said.

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