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Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:53 PM

PG&E issues unprecedented power shut-off watch for much of Northern California

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES
PG&E issues unprecedented power shut-off watch for much of Northern California

Michael Cabanatuan Oct. 7, 2019 Updated: Oct. 7, 2019 12:23 p.m.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. issued an unprecedented notification to potentially shut off power across much of Northern California including almost all of the Bay Area on Wednesday and Thursday to prevent power lines and equipment from sparking wildfires.

In total, the shut-off watch, which precedes a warning of a Public Safety Power Shutoff, covers 29 counties and more could be added as weather forecasts become clearer.

Shut-off watches were issued for seven of the nine Bay Area counties all but San Francisco and Marin along with the North Coast, northern parts of the Central Valley and the northern and central Sierra and foothills. An elevated risk of a power shut-off also exists Wednesday and Thursday in parts of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus counties.

Warm dry offshore winds from the northeast known as Diablo winds are predicted Wednesday and Thursday, and the National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch for the North Bay hills and valleys, East Bay hills, the Diablo Range and the Santa Cruz Mountains. The fire watch will last from 5 a.m. Wednesday through 5 p.m. Thursday.
....

More information on shut-off plans is available here.
http://www.pge.com/psps%20or%20www.pge.com/pspsupdates
....

Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ctuan
https://twitter.com/ctuan

Michael Cabanatuan is a general assignment, breaking news reporter.

He previously covered all things transportation for the San Francisco Chronicle from BART strikes, acrobatic bridge construction and dark dirty tunnel excavations to the surging ridership on public transportation and the increasing conflict as cars, bikes and pedestrians struggle to coexist on the streets. Hes ridden high-speed trains in Japan, walked in BARTs Transbay Tube and driven to King City at 55 mph to test fuel efficiency.

He joined The Chronicle as a suburban reporter and deputy bureau chief in Contra Costa County, and has also covered the general assignment beat. In addition to transportation, Michael covers a variety of Bay Area news, including breaking news events. Hes been tear-gassed covering demonstrations in Oakland and exposed to nude protesters in the Castro District.

Read more: https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/PG-E-issues-unprecedented-power-shutoff-watch-for-14498454.php

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Reply PG&E issues unprecedented power shut-off watch for much of Northern California (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Oct 2019 OP
ProudMNDemocrat Oct 2019 #1
AllaN01Bear Oct 2019 #2
aggiesal Oct 2019 #3
roamer65 Oct 2019 #4
The Mouth Oct 2019 #6
ripcord Oct 2019 #13
still_one Oct 2019 #29
Igel Oct 2019 #16
yaesu Oct 2019 #5
Brother Buzz Oct 2019 #8
Mr.Bill Oct 2019 #21
SoCalNative Oct 2019 #7
mahatmakanejeeves Oct 2019 #9
SoCalNative Oct 2019 #15
Mr.Bill Oct 2019 #19
stopdiggin Oct 2019 #25
Mr.Bill Oct 2019 #20
Blue Streak Science Oct 2019 #24
lapfog_1 Oct 2019 #26
usaf-vet Oct 2019 #10
softydog88 Oct 2019 #11
ProudMNDemocrat Oct 2019 #28
MyWorldIsBlue Oct 2019 #12
ffr Oct 2019 #14
mr_lebowski Oct 2019 #17
Blue Streak Science Oct 2019 #23
Mr.Bill Oct 2019 #18
Blue Streak Science Oct 2019 #22
stopdiggin Oct 2019 #27
Blue Streak Science Oct 2019 #31
NickB79 Oct 2019 #32
still_one Oct 2019 #30

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 02:56 PM

1. We have family in Santa Clara County.....

San Jose to be exact. Talk about a mess with traffic up and down the Bay Area.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 03:13 PM

2. i live in the sierra nevada foothills a major area for impact. .

eep.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 03:20 PM

3. Everyone in that area should be careful ...

Hot with no electricity.
Trouble could start among the public.
There will be a run on gas stations for cars and generators.
A run on groceries that don't require electricity just to eat.
It could get ugly.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 03:29 PM

4. Sounds like the state needs to take control of PG&E.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #4)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 03:53 PM

6. The state gave them permission to do this!

idiots, what were they thinking.

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Response to The Mouth (Reply #6)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 04:37 PM

13. If they do one thing people complain, if they do another to fix it people complain

Many of the large fires in California have been started by arching power lines including the Camp fire which killed 85 and destroyed the town of Paradise, even with the high winds the power wasn't shut off and look what happened. It just isn't worth it.

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Response to ripcord (Reply #13)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 06:58 AM

29. Thank-you. Do some actually forget the fires in Northern and Southern California

a few months ago

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Response to The Mouth (Reply #6)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 05:13 PM

16. The state was all but forced to do this.

Otherwise it's,

"We won't let you raise rates to upgrade lines."

"If there's a problem because of the condition of the lines, you will be held fully responsible."

"We will not let you not use the lines."

Basically, it's saying the company *must* do something it knows is hazardous, and then because it knowingly does something hazardous it is criminally and financially liable, while saying that it cannot take steps necessary to remove the hazard.

If it were a math equation, it would be called "overdetermined." Others might call it a catch-22.

There's the precedent of this happening in San Diego, but, you know, San Diego isn't all that important.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 03:31 PM

5. the pge link is dead, maybe they changed their minds. nt

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Response to yaesu (Reply #5)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 03:58 PM

8. Nope. It's making the rounds at all the radio and television stations...

in the Sacramento and SF Bay Area. The operative words are "May shut power".

What's odd is the San Francisco Chronicle using the word 'unprecedented' when this is the second season we've received these warnings, but at the end of the day, only hilly wooded regions actually get shut down.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #8)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 05:49 PM

21. Yes. They put out similar warnings just a few days ago,

but very little was shut down because much of the winds never developed, except in higher elevations.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 03:58 PM

7. Just one more reason

that all above ground power lines should be moved underground.

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Response to SoCalNative (Reply #7)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 04:00 PM

9. Who's going to pick up the tab for that? NT

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #9)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 05:06 PM

15. The utilities should be forced to pick up the tab

as the cost of doing business and continuing to be allowed to operate in the state.

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Response to SoCalNative (Reply #15)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 05:42 PM

19. The problem with that is

they will pass the debt onto the ratepayers. And the state will let them do it if the alternative is the power company going out of business.

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Response to SoCalNative (Reply #15)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 06:25 AM

25. can you spell rate increases?

which is exactly what the solution would require. As long as politicians are most interested in "low balling" the rates .. the structure stays basically the same (or moves forward in minor increments).

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Response to SoCalNative (Reply #7)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 05:46 PM

20. In theory, yes.

But that would entail what would probably be the biggest public works project in the history of the state, if not the USA. And having things underground increases the cost of maintaining, repairing and upgrading the system.

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Response to SoCalNative (Reply #7)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 11:40 PM

24. Agreed, with caveat

Underground power will certainly reduce the number of ignition points. However, the cost of doing this would be huge, but possibly worth it in the long run.

One thing to note: though it's safer to have underground power that doesn't mean underground lines don't get damaged when fire does rip through the area. They do get damaged, sometimes badly, especially if the fire goes through a housing development.

Overall, I'm still on board with underground power lines.

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Response to SoCalNative (Reply #7)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 06:33 AM

26. these aren't the neighborhood lines

they are worried about grid tie overhead lines

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 04:01 PM

10. Does this have anything to do with the nonexistent climate change folks are talking about?

Just wondering!





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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 04:05 PM

11. I live in Sunnyvale

which is in the heart of Silicon Valley. It's not supposed to be that hot here on Wednesday and Thursday - mid 70's - but the danger factor seems to be the wind. Still, I work from home, and if I lose power, it will suck.

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Response to softydog88 (Reply #11)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 06:39 AM

28. My dad used to work at Lockheed....

In the early 60's to 1973.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 04:23 PM

12. Link to map

https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/psps-service-impact-map.page?fbclid=IwAR1uUNT-HITIDvaO9ZT16gtAjpP3jIqF6HCpxs88kCHm4Cw2O7o3hmGx4wk

I live in the Sierra Nevada, and this is not good.

I have been trying to get friends and relatives to buy some small camper with power just in case this happens.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 04:40 PM

14. In relation to the Paradise, CA fire lawsuit?

This would be unprecedented.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 05:19 PM

17. I wonder how many more people will be outside using open flames

in response to losing home power?

How many more barbeques will be lit up to cook food? How many fireplaces will be lit?

Point being you may very well be increasing the probability that a fire will start by OTHER means ... by turning off people's electrical.

Course I suppose such fires wouldn't be PG&E's responsibility, so ...

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #17)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 11:34 PM

23. The power should be shut off in these select areas at the appropriate times

Shutting off electricity will dramatically REDUCE the chances of a fire ignition...even with barbecues. Oh, and it's too hot for fireplaces anyway. It's critical that the power be turned off in areas experiencing the high northeast winds that are forecast.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 05:38 PM

18. This is not solely about PG&E being concerned about public safety. There will still be fire danger.

This is largely about them reducing their liability for their poorly maintained infrastructure starting a fire.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 11:30 PM

22. Power Shut Off is GOOD!

Shutting off the electricity in high wildfire risk zones is exactly what PG&E should be doing in the forecast conditions for Wednesday and Thursday. Many people wished they'd have done that two years ago.

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Response to Blue Streak Science (Reply #22)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 06:38 AM

27. agree for most part

stopping fires and saving lives is a priority. But .... As on ongoing "policy" .. how many days out of the year are going to be "shut offs?" How many people will be effected? How many jobs idled? What is the drag on the economy (of one the most important in the nation)? What is the health cost to the population for interrupted service? What is the increased carbon imprint from all the private and backup generators that go into service?
(as a "one time" safety precaution this makes sense .. down the road for the next 3, 5, 20 years .. it doesn't seem like sensible "policy" at all)

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #27)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 10:10 PM

31. Things will have to change

Firstly, if more people and businesses adopted solar power it would go miles in alleviating the impact of outages. This is something we've already started on as a society. Let's provide more incentives to help people make the switch.

PG&E will have to also reconstruct its infrastructure to meet the demands of this new regimen of hotter and longer fire seasons. Additionally, we have to get serious about prescribed burns in our wild lands to match the natural fire frequency. This would require disincentives for building in particular zones, and even buying out people and businesses who are currently in those zones. These people and businesses scream and cry when prescribed burns happen. But they're just allowing ladder fuels to build up until all of us pay very dearly at a later date.

Most of all, though, I think the adoption of solar power will have the quickest and most enduring effect.

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Response to Blue Streak Science (Reply #31)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 10:24 PM

32. Almost all solar is currently grid-tied

And grid-tied solar goes down when the grid goes down. If you want power, you need an off-grid or hybrid system, but batteries add thousands to each installation, and batteries need to be maintained and replaced over time.

I'm pricing a grid-tied system currently, with plans to upgrade to a hybrid system when more Power-Wall-like options are available in a decade. But I simply can't afford an off-grid system at the moment, and I'm pretty middle-class.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Oct 8, 2019, 07:28 AM

30. go to PGE website where you can find out if your area is affected. You can put in youor address,

and find out how likely your area will be impacted

This does not mean that all of Northern California will be impacted, and more likely in those areas where the risk is greatest

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