California power shutoff: how PG&E's actions hit the medically vulnerable the hardest

The impacts of the electricity cut are being disproportionately felt by those dependent on medical devices.

Deanne Mediati learned of northern California’s massive power shutoff when her husband shook her awake at 3.30 in the morning on Wednesday. “Honey, the power is out,” he told her. “You’re not breathing.”

Mediati, 59, has hypoxia and requires an oxygen concentrator to breathe when she sleeps. Like everything else running on electricity in 600,000 California homes and businesses this week, her oxygen concentrator stopped working when the country’s largest utility company cut power to an unprecedented swath of the state as a preventive measure against wildfires.

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