You may have seen that PG&E will shut down power for up to 800,000 customers in California in an attempt to prevent its lines from sparking wildfires like those that ravaged the state last year. So while Californians may avoid the terror of more wildfires, they will suffer the effects of having no power. In either case, those who aren’t prepared will get the worst of it. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The company has said the shut-offs could last for a number of days and would cover parts of 34 of California’s 58 counties, a huge swath of the nation’s most populous state.
“We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of electric operations.
Sonoma County officials said Tuesday they were bracing for nearly half of the area’s half-million residents to potentially lose power, darkening large parts of Santa Rosa, Petaluma and other major cities in the area north of San Francisco. “It’s absolutely unprecedented,” said Maggie Fleming, a Sonoma County spokeswoman, adding, “We are encouraging people to keep their cellphones charged, have gas in their cars, cash in hand and nonperishable food.”
PG&E dramatically expanded the use of so-called public safety power shut-offs earlier this year in a bid to prevent its power lines from igniting dry brush on windy days. Its equipment sparked 19 major wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that collectively killed more than 100 people. The company sought bankruptcy protection in January, citing more than $30 billion in potential fire-related liability costs.
Preparing yourself for a wildfire is a necessity in California. The state’s climate is the perfect combination of heavy vegetation and dry windy spells that can lead to serious trouble. Building homes better prepared for fires and storing water are a good start to your preparations.
Fighting Man-Made Disaster
If you live in California today though, you are facing a manmade disaster; no power. The goods news is, it’s not too cold, so heat won’t be a priority like it was in the Newport, RI gas outage last year. But despite the advantages of weather, when the lights go down in high-density areas, weird things can begin to happen.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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