PR Disaster: PG&E Cuts Power To Millions To Save California From Wildfires

PR Disaster: PG&E Cuts Power To Millions To Save California From Wildfires

PR Disaster: PG&E Cuts Power To Millions To Save California From Wildfires

In response to high fire danger, PG&E has decided their only solution is to cut power to well over eight hundred thousand people across thirty four counties in California.

“California’s wildfire crisis will enter an unprecedented new stage Wednesday as PG&E plans to begin cutting power to about 800,000 customers, shutting down the electric lines that have sparked many of the state’s worst blazes and setting off a chaotic scramble of people preparing for an outage that could last a week in some places.”

This is their idea of ensuring no wildfires will happen? Given that some PG&E customers could be a business or residence (apartment building for example), the estimate of those affected is likely on the low side.

Schools have been canceled across the region, and major transportation routes such as the Caldecott Tunnel could be affected. PG&E had said the shut down wouldn’t happen until later on today or this evening. But guess what? The power shut down started last night.

What doesn’t help is that PG&E’s website keeps crashing so folks can’t get info regarding if they will be affected or not. Will the power outage affect BART? Supposedly not if BART’s redundant systems work. It’s California so…

Understandably many are concerned about the elderly, disabled, and those who use medical equipment of any kind in their homes. With PG&E saying that outages could last well over a week, how will they cope? I guess this was helpful?

Or this?

How many elderly, disabled, or those requiring the use of oxygen machines have the capability and strength to manually open their garage door? How many have the budget to purchase a generator as a backup? How many are online and were able to read these warnings that were posted only twenty four hours ago? How many folks had the resources to get out to the stores and stock up on water, batteries, flashlights?

As for stocking up on medications… if some of those meds are controlled substances, it won’t be a simple matter of getting a refill to plan ahead. Some medications need to be refrigerated. How will that work if the power is out for several days?

What about customers in assisted living homes, nursing homes, etc. Does PG&E think backup generators can run indefinitely??

There are a good number of folks who do know how to prepare for an event like this. There are a great many other people out there who don’t or are unable to because of medical conditions.

Those who are and have been versed in disaster prep wouldn’t have any trouble dealing with this. However, I doubt that there are that many in California who are.

Once again PG&E has a PR disaster on their hands. One that is of their own making, but they aren’t the only ones to blame here. California could’ve afforded to help with wildfire mitigation over these last few years. But instead has kowtowed to idiotic environmentalists, and played games with tax revenue. If CA is taking money away from road repairs, what have they been doing with money that could’ve been used for wildfire mitigation?

It’s quite evident that PG&E has a credibility issue. Will it save California from wildfire danger? Not likely.

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20 Comments
  • Mike-in-Keller says:

    If you have to choose between grass and forests, and the idiots who put California politicians into office, it’s an easy choice. At least the grass and forests did not hurt anyone, while those idiots’ votes harmed the entire USA.

  • This is a practice run for what would happen under Green New Deal.

  • GWB says:

    How many have the budget to purchase a generator as a backup?
    Whoa there, Nellie! You can’t be burnin’ no hydrocarbons to replace the energy lost when they turn the power off! That’ll pollute our gorgeous state and make Global Warming Climate Change even worse, leading to MORE fires! You get your solar panels installed and stop hating the Earth, you … non-Californian, you!
    /Caliprog

    But, the one thing you didn’t lay out was the WHY behind this.
    It’s more than eco-worship. It’s also the state refusing to allow PG&E to raise rates to restore and reinforce their infrastructure for a couple of decades*, combined with eco-warriors stopping the cutting back of brush (what we fire-trained folks call “tinder” and “kindling”) along transmission line paths, plus the lawsuits over the Paradise Fire (PG&E evidently didn’t follow their own procedures for shutting the line down once they knew there was some kind of issue).
    (* While, at the same time, cutting back on energy production infrastructure across the state.)

    All that combines to make this week in California the most Californiest, ever.

    Don’t you dare flee, Californians! You made this mess, and we don’t want it coming to here (wherever “here” is for the rest of us) when you arrive.

  • SFC D says:

    Thousands, possibly millions of miles of overhead high-voltage transmission lines in the United States. PG&E seems to be the only utility having a recurring problem with fires caused by downed lines. Sounds like a maintenance issue to me, possibly poor engineering, design flaws. Nevertheless, people must suffer for the good of the trees. And PG&E’s stockholders.

    • Harry_the_Horrible says:

      Probably has more to do with PG&E not being allowed to clear their righ-of-way of brush (“tinder”) than anything else.

    • steveH says:

      PG&E has had to comply with idiotic Sacramento rules for decades, as well as being indirectly affected by equally-idiotic forestry rules.

      If you can’t cut back/clear/open piles of fuel, this is what happens.

      And Sacramento sits back, looks surprised, and blames PG&E for the whole mess (not just any shortfalls in PG&E’s own policies and practices).

  • Bullitt says:

    I suspect that PG&E’s thinking runs more along the lines of “you blamed us for the last fire, but you wouldn’t let us raise rates to improve infrastructure or clean up brush and trees along the transmission lines, so in order to make sure you can’t blame us for the next fire, we’re just going to turn off the power. See how you like that!” Or, as a long-forgotten TV show had a housewife say to her husband after he complained that the house was dirty, “Dirt? You wanna see dirt? I’ll show you dirt!” That became a catchword in our marriage long after we had forgotten what show it came from.

    • Koybee says:

      This. I’ve been working with some folks in the California energy sector and you nailed it right here. The state wants to make us liable? Fine, here’s what happens.

  • Sarah Stone says:

    Put a conservative in charge! Good grief…in all the years we’ve lived in this once beautiful state, never have we seen such incompetence in a utility, or incompetence in running a state government. The environmentalists run the state. What a mess! Now PGAnd E has taken the prize in that category. How shameful. And how utterly stupid all of this has become. Warnings? Not so. Why after two years, are we now cutting power to areas that weren’t even affected, or will never be affected by a wildfire. We are here on the coast! It’s cruel and an unnecessary for PG and E to target areas like this. I’m with this article all the way. Clean up your messes you environmentalist! I use that word loosely. Clean up your messes PG and E. Today you have caused thousands of people unnecessary anxiety and panic. Think of your fellow human beings. Get your darn act together. Have a plan that makes sense, and quit punishing all of us for your mistakes. Today we were a third world country. This is the dream of the left. How sickening. You have ruined this once beautiful state.

  • Gregory Brou says:

    this is not a surprising situation. Ann Rand wrote a book 70 years age, Atlas Shrugged, that describes in detail how California assembled its mess

  • Born Free says:

    This is the chickens coming home to roost for many years of political meddling with what was once a reasonably well-run utility. As a former resident of the Bay Area for 20 yrs, the handwriting was on the wall. Voters chose their destructors, if not the precise form of their destruction. I don’t see state politicians plowing funds into remediation efforts, all they want to do is point the finger at PG&E. There’s nothing unexpected about this outcome. The state’s death spiral is simply gathering speed.

    • GWB says:

      all they want to do is point the finger at PG&E
      The ultimate end of all politics/economics of envy. They’re an evil corporation, after all, and must have tons of money………

  • Fen says:

    Didn’t California recently sue PG&E for a huge settlement? Because one of their crews accidentally started a fire?

    The same California that refuses to let people rake and control burn wild areas near housing?

    Sounds like they left PG&E no other choice. Besides, Cali thinks electricity is Evil so…

  • STC says:

    Won’t let them raise rates? Yikes! Our energy costs have skyrocketed the last 10 years with all the solar subsidies, etc. I live in the Central Valley where it’s hard to sleep some nights w/o AC. Our coastal Democrat overlords get ocean breezes so this is very easy for them to say.

  • Archaeopteryx says:

    PG&E is obviously reminding people what sort of “power” it has.
    The claim that this was a safety measure is laughable.

  • George Turner says:

    Wildfires are raging anyway, so perhaps the plan is flawed. Do all of those 800 people know the proper safety protocols for cooking their dinner over a fire (because the freakin’ electricity is out) during periods of high wildfire danger? It’s like reducing fire danger by having people who lick Tide Pods try to use candles and kerosene lamps for a week. We’ll see how that works out.

  • Boogeyman says:

    You have it backwards. This isn’t a PR disaster for Pacific Greed and Extortion. It’s a strategy to get a law changed. This is a response to the insistence by the state that the utility be held financially liable for any fire damage if the state determines a spark from a line started the fire. Instead of spending the huge chunk of money it would take to make sure every mile of line can never possibly cause a spark, they just shut it all off when there is too much wind.

    This not only saves them a ton of cash, it will eventually cause the state to reverse its stance. Eventually enough people will get so pissed off at having the lights out that folks will push the government to let PG&E off the liability hook.

    • GWB says:

      Instead of spending the huge chunk of money it would take to make sure every mile of line can never possibly cause a spark
      It’s money they don’t have – since CA won’t allow them to raise rates to recover that money.

      Otherwise, I think you’re at least partly right.

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