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Sun Jun 9, 2019, 10:38 PM

California utility proactively cuts power because of weather

Source: Associated Press

California utility proactively cuts power because of weather

June 9, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Pacific Gas & Electric implemented a controversial practice of cutting power to selected portions of Northern California on Saturday to guard against wildfires as the weather turned very windy, dry and hot.

Electricity was turned off around 6 a.m. to 1,600 customers in parts Napa, Solano and Yolo counties. Just as that shutdown was called off, the utility warned 27,000 customers in Butte, Yuba, Nevada, El Dorado and Placer counties that their power would be cut from 9 p.m. through Sunday morning.

The end of the earlier shutdown was announced around 4 p.m., and the utility said power would be restored in those areas as soon as crews finished checking lines for any weather-related damage.

Conditions ripe for fire winds, low humidity, dry vegetation and heat were expected to last into Sunday. The National Weather Service office reported a 71 mph (114 kph) gust on one peak in the region.

-snip-

Read more: https://apnews.com/88cd503dcec4411eafcb2507c8efe723

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Reply California utility proactively cuts power because of weather (Original post)
Eugene Jun 2019 OP
demosincebirth Jun 2019 #1
Cicada Jun 2019 #2
RockRaven Jun 2019 #3
Liberty Belle Jun 2019 #4
progree Jun 2019 #6
NickB79 Jun 2019 #5

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sun Jun 9, 2019, 11:01 PM

1. 100+degrees in No. Ca.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sun Jun 9, 2019, 11:25 PM

2. Another $30 billion fire damage award will kill them

Cutting off the power will kill people. But another lawsuit for fire damage kills all Pge shareholder value. This is a spectacular disaster. I think the government must buy all the shares and operate pge.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sun Jun 9, 2019, 11:26 PM

3. "Conditions ripe for fire -- winds, low humidity, dry vegetation and heat -- ..."

"...were expected to last into Sunday."

Yeah, and 3/4 of those conditions (not the wind part) are expected to last until October... Buckle up everyone, your precautionary blackouts will correlate with episodes of high winds for the foreseeable future.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 01:55 AM

4. All the ways turning off power endangers lives:

Phone lines go down so people don't get emergency alerts to evacuate. Cell phones may also cease to work and in some rural areas there is no cell service so land lines are vital.

Internet goes down, too. Imagine being left with no communication and a major wildfire is approaching.

Life support equipment will fail, leaving people on home dialysis, breathing machines etc. likely to swiftly die.

Electric well pumps don't work, so you can't provide water for your household, your livestock, or to put out spot fires sparked by burning embers as many rural and backcountry residents regularly do.

Electric garage door openers fail, trapping vehicles in garages so people can't escape a fire if they are unable to climb up and manually open the door, as many elderly and disabled people cannot do.

Traffic signals fail, causing massive traffic jams just when people need clear roads to evacuate.

Air conditioning won't work, and triple digit heat can kill people.

Refrigerators and freezers shut off so after a few hours food will spoil. SDG&E has been doing power shutoffs for a while to prevent fires and has never paid for any food spoilage-- not even in a community that had a dozen outages in 2 months -- so some lost all their food over and over again, in a poor community.

Water pumping stations fail, which can leave firefighters without water to fight fires.

Outages are particularly dangerous at schools, medical facilities etc. Not all have generators.

Frequent outages are also disruptive to businesses. Some stores had all their frozen products melt or spoil. Businesses may miss critical deadlines such as filing court documents due to outages.

Being plunged into darkness can result in trips/falls and injuries.

Fires can also be caused by inexperienced people buying and using generators improperly, and this can also put surges into the lines that can electrocute utility workers when power comes back up. Generators are not a panacea though can be helpful for some who can afford them and are technically savvy enough to do so correction.

In short, allowing intentional outages, with no limits on how often and no requirements for compensating people who suffer losses, is dangerous and unconscionable. Utility companies should instead be required to fire harden their lines and assure that all equipment is as safe as it can possibly be.

They should also be made to do one good thing that SDG&E has done -- install weather stations and video cameras on power poles all across their area so that fires can be detected instantly and firefighting equipment pre-positioned when weather monitors indicate strong winds/high temps forming up. This would not have happened if SDG&E had been let off the hook for fires that it caused - they had to pay out a lot of money, not enough, but it did teach them some lessons -- some that resulted in good solutions, others bad ones that put the burden of outages on consumers, not shareholders.




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Response to Liberty Belle (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 06:38 PM

6. Thanks much for this very comprehensive listing n/t

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 10:11 AM

5. I see a lot of portable generator sales in the future

Ironic, because hundreds of thousands of small, relatively inefficient gas and diesel generators running will pump out tons of air pollution.

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