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Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:01 PM

PG&E Outage Darkens Northern California Amid Wildfire Threat

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/us/california-power-outage-PGE.html

PG&E Outage Darkens Northern California Amid Wildfire Threat
A deliberate power outage by the state’s largest utility sent residents scrambling — and debating whether it was worth it.
By Thomas Fuller
Oct. 9, 2019 Updated 10:04 p.m. ET

SAN FRANCISCO — The lights went off in stages in Northern California on Wednesday, from the forests near the Oregon border, down the spine of the Sierra Nevada and finally through the dense hillside communities across the Bay from San Francisco.

Hundreds of thousands of households lost power when California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, shut down a vast web of electrical lines as a precaution against wildfires. Not knowing how long the outage would last, residents hurried to gas stations and supermarkets, stocking up on essentials as if a hurricane were bearing down.

It was an extraordinary moment for California. In the state that brought the world the iPhone and the internet as most people know it, residents fumbled for flashlights, hauled jerrycans of gasoline and read instructions on how to manually open their automatic garage doors. In the fifth-largest economy in the world, hundreds of thousands of people were forced off the grid.

The vast scope of the power shutdown suggested a new layer of vulnerability for California. A state prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides and wildfires now was faced with a power company’s decision to shut off the electricity, with relatively little notice.

The shutdown led to the cancellation of classes at Humboldt State University, Mills College in Oakland and the University of California, Berkeley. It also contributed to multiple crashes at intersections where traffic lights went dark. Banks and businesses in some Northern California towns shut down; agricultural processing machines were inoperable in the thick of the fall harvest.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the largest concentrations of wealth and cutting-edge technology in the world, the shut-off felt like an anachronism, something that might happen in a less-developed country. Long lines formed at gas stations a dozen or so miles from the headquarters of Apple and Google.

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:05 PM

1. Is this infrastructure week? I forget.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:07 PM

2. I think it's Rake Your Forest week

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:07 PM

3. Here in Humboldt hoping to get power back soon. Been shut off since 1 AM. No work today at least.

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Response to Garrett78 (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:12 PM

4. Is it even windy over there?

Thankfully in Mt Shasta we have Pacific Power and not much wind nor mentions of outages.

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Response to mchill (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:16 PM

5. No, and the wind is moving south. But it never got very windy here.

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Response to Garrett78 (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:18 PM

6. wow

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Response to Garrett78 (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:25 PM

7. So are you on battery?

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Response to Cha (Reply #7)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:27 PM

9. My phone is on a battery pack, but no. We have a candle lit and that's it.

Smells like watermelon in the house.

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Response to Garrett78 (Reply #9)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:35 PM

10. Good on your phone! Otherwise..

I hate being disconnected from the Universe!

We were without electricity for 3 months in 1992 after Hurricane Iniki hit Kauai.. lots of candles.. we had a great time bonding and getting it together.. knowing nothing about the internet.

It's so weird what PG&E did.. I saw one OP wondering if they would pay for the food spoilage in the fridge. That's always my concern when our electricity goes off.. the Food! And, it's without warning. At least with hurricanes we have a chance to stock up on non perishable food.

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Response to Cha (Reply #10)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:43 PM

11. Fortunately, we hadn't done our usual grocery shopping over the weekend and were low on food.

Yesterday after work, we got a couple bags of ice, some food that doesn't need refrigeration and cooked some chicken (put the leftovers on the ice).

Damn, though, 3 months is a long time.

My biggest concern was potentially missing out on hearing that Trump resigned or suffered a stroke.

I already told tomorrow's clients I won't be able to meet with them but my boss says he thinks the power will be back on by morning. If it's on before noon, we report soon after. If it's on after noon, we're due back to work on Friday. It's all so strange.

But, hey, billions of people are a hell of a lot worse off.

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Response to Garrett78 (Reply #11)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:59 PM

13. That was Fortunate! I know how strange it must be.. our electricity

went off for 1/2 a day about a month and a 1/2 ago and I couldn't shop at my Natural Food Store that I had taken a 1/2 hour bus ride to get to.

It was a bummer.. but like you say.. it's nothing compared to what's happening elsewhere in the world. Must keep things in perspective!

Best of Luck with PG&E getting their electricity back on for you Northern Californians!

I imagine their complaint department will be overflowing!

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:26 PM

8. Don't worry. The PG&E board is doing so well they gave themselves $11 million bonuses today. n/t

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 11:56 PM

12. Based on the map published in my local paper, invoking Google and Apple HQ's is sensationalistic BS.

Which is about what I expect from the NYT editorial staff...

Both companies HQ's are NOT in the projected possible outage regions. Look it up. Look up where their HQ's are, look up the possible-outage map (San Jose Mercury -- no I don't have a link, yeah I get a paper copy and don't also read it online -- I'm a freakin' dinosaur, sue me; but I doubt they made the map themselves, it is either available else where also, or provided by PG&E).

If someone wants to tell me that I'm wrong about my knowledge of Google and Apple HQs locations, well that is a heavy lift given that this is publicly available info... or maybe my local paper is BS-ing me with this infographic, which would be a weird move on their part, right?

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Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Thu Oct 10, 2019, 12:07 AM

14. All I can say is I am glad I don't live in California. ...

I live in Florida and I have experienced a couple of five day to a week power outages as a result of tropical storms or hurricanes. They are no fun.

We have forest fires in Florida too but our power companies don’t impose blackouts to prevent them. Florida also has prescribed burns on 2.3 million acres a year.

Florida faces wildfire risk with its abundance of plant fuels, but not like California


Eric Boettcher, an Environmental Land Management technician, uses a drop torch to light a back fire at the Alafia River Corridor Nature Preserve. Officials this week were carrying out a controlled burn of 90 acres to get rid of non-native ground vegetation and reduce the threat of wildfire. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
https://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/florida-faces-wildfire-risk-with-its-abundance-of-plant-fuels-but-not-like-california-20181123/

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