Tuesday, October 08, 2019

PG&E Power Outages

Based on what I've read and heard about PG&E over the last couple of years, I have to rant.

Because of the lawsuits after PG&E equipment started a number of catastrophic wildfires over the last few years, the company has gone into bankruptcy.  They've now decided that, to protect their shareholders, and the executives' bonuses, the appropriate response is to turn off the power over large areas of the state, whenever the National Weather Service issues a red flag warning for dry conditions with gusty offshore winds.  We have one coming over the next couple of days.  Because their web site couldn't handle the traffic for the people from 29 counties who all want to know now whether they will lose power, I can't even check their web site to find out if we're affected.

As far as I can tell, this is because they were too incompetent, or too cheap, or both, to create and maintain an electrical power system that would not fail and cause fires.  (Those of us who remember the San Bruno gas explosion in 2010, which destroyed a neighborhood and killed 8 people, feel that they can't manage their gas distribution system either.) 

So they're putting the onus on us, their customers.  I cannot express how angry this makes me.  We have an announced outage coming over the next couple of days, and because their web site couldn't handle the traffic for people from 29 counties who all want to know now whether they will lose power tomorrow, I can't even check their web site to find out if we're affected.

And most of us have no choice - PG&E is a monopoly in most of northern California.

I'm still waiting for one of these outages to kill someone who relies on electrically powered medical equipment, like the ventilator my sister uses (she's in Nevada, thank God).

3 comments:

  1. Rant away, please, Ms. Hedera! At least one death recorded of someone who depended on oxygen being delivered via electricity. Is anyone aware of http://www.turn.org/???

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  2. I think I knew from the get-go that this was a "planned event" designed by PG&E management to remind its customer base who's boss, and to put pressure on the bankruptcy court judge to lighten up on the sanctions and directives. PG&E went all corporate about 25 years ago, laid off most of its regular service people, farmed the public contact response to robots, and generally cut corners on maintenance and upgrade to fatten its shareholders. The devastating disasters were the direct result of its malfeasance, the rubber-stamp PUC, and the willingness of legislators to doze during the status quo.

    PG&E deserves to be made public and its gang of corrupt managers sent packing. Do we have the will? Probably not.

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  3. I hate to say it, Curtis, but I'm afraid you're right...

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