PG&E Power Outages, and the Complete Lack of Preparation in California

Pacific Gas & Electric has shut off power to large swaths of Northern California, in an effort to not cause fires, and it highlights that people are not prepared, even when they have been warned what is coming. PG&E Power Outage: Live Updates as Californians Confront Blackout.

So I thought I was done (for the moment, anyway) writing about Americans’ complete lack of preparation. But then PG & E had to go and shine a bright light on the issue.

PG & E has been saying since BEFORE the Camp Fire (which was just about 11 months ago) that the utility would be turning off the power when fire hazards were high. And still no one was prepared. Why? Too busy during the whole of the year? Thought it would never happen? You have a strategic time-frame that is a week from Tuesday? What? (Do you know what a round tuit is?) And so now, when they complain, how much sympathy should they expect? (Exactly none from me. How about you?)

Long lines at the gas stations. (Keep your car’s tank more than ½ full.) But my favorite one is thinking about generators at the last minute, because they just have thousands in stock, sitting there waiting for you to wake up to the reality of the situation.

CD & Power, a company that sells generators in Northern California, has seen an uptick in sales and rentals, said Lisa Carter, the general manager.

Usually, she said, the company sells a few Honda generators a month. In the last two days, it has sold 13 and has exhausted its rental inventory. “We are buried this morning dispatching equipment,” Ms. Carter said.

“As many people as we’re helping, we’re having to tell many no, because there’s physically no equipment,” she said.

Congratulations for thinking about what you might need in the event the power goes out, but you lose points for waiting until the last minute. Do you have a generator? Do you have fuel? Is there Stabil, or some other fuel preservative in the fuel? When was the last time you started the generator? When was the last time you rotated the fuel? Candles. Lanterns. You might need these things. How about some canned goods, and a non-electric can opener? Can you cook without electric power? Board games? Books that don’t require you to charge your Kindle, or have an internet connection, which if the power is off, will also be tough in some places.

Okay, now that you know they were SERIOUS when they said the power would go off, you can plan accordingly. Did you know that they make propane powered refrigerators? Oh, they’re expensive? Well then, don’t complain when all the food in your fridge gets thrown out. You’re saving money. (Google may be the enemy, but web searching can still be your friend.)

Oh, and they say that the power will be out for a few days.

Maybe they will be prepared for the next time, but I doubt it. People in Florida were never prepared for hurricanes, and that was never the first time. As I’ve said before; you’re an adult, so you should start taking adult responsibility.

3 thoughts on “PG&E Power Outages, and the Complete Lack of Preparation in California

  1. Trapped for six-hours on a hot southern interstate because of a horrific wreck on a holiday, my wife asks “What happens if all of these people find out that we have food and water and the better part of a full tank of gas?”

    Me, “I guess that’s when they discover that we have guns and ammo.”

    Wife, “What if some of them have guns?”

    Me, “Well, then I guess that’s when we all discover which of us is better or luckier. There is an exit about a quarter mile ahead … we should be there in less than an hour … if most of everyone that is exiting goes one way, we go the other. “

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t want to make light of a situation in which otherwise good people have no power because of gross governmental incompetence, but I am going to laugh at the people in CA that have soar panels and they just found out that they won’t power their homes unless the grid is on !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just can’t believe that people who live in fire country, and earthquake country are shocked to discover that they live in an area where they might have to be without power for a while, once in a while.

      And not understanding the difference between grid-tied solar and grid-interactive solar is priceless.


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