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“It’s Not Sustainable:” PG&E Rolling Blackouts To Hit 181,000 Customers Wednesday

“It’s Not Sustainable:” PG&E Rolling Blackouts To Hit 181,000 Customers Wednesday 

Seriously, every time the wind blows in California, it transforms into a third world country with rolling blackouts. And if you’ve ever been to let’s say South America where this happens frequently, it’s not a pleasant thing to experience. 

So Californians will get another taste of what it’s like to live in Venezuela or Argentina on Wednesday. Nearly 181,00 customers in Northern California on early Wednesday will see their power cutoff so that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) can avoid sparking another deadly wildfire. 

The National Weather Service (NWS) posted “red flag warnings” for parts of the Bay Area, Sacramento, Paradise, and even up to Redding. 

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Northly winds are expected to be in the 40-55 mph range, with some gusts over 55 mph, which could damage electric lines and spark wildfires, one of the main reasons why PG&E wants to cut power. 

PG&E published a community resource map of certain facilities that residents can use for WiFi, bathrooms, and food during the rolling blackout. 

PG&E has conducted several rolling blackouts since Sept., which at one point left millions of residents in the dark for days while the electric company shutdown large transmission lines to avoid electrical fires during a windstorm. 

The bankrupted utility company has been extra careful about preventing blazes during windstorms since deadly fires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018 are expected to cost $30 billion. 

“We all know it’s not sustainable — it’s not where we want to be,” Andy Vesey, PG&E’s chief of utility operations, said Tuesday. But at this point in time, it’s the situation that we are faced with.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Power Shutoffs: Playing with Fire

Power Shutoffs: Playing with Fire

California’s fire season is back. Yet if this past week is any indication, our emergency response remains woefully inadequate.  When disaster strikes we are far from being energy resilient, ensuring reliable access to electricity for our most vulnerable communities.

Climate fires are California’s new normal.  Dangerous combinations of high (20-60 mph) sustained winds and tinderbox drought conditions wreaked havoc throughout the state last week.  Massive evacuations from the Saddleridge fire in northwest Los Angeles and the Reche Fire in Moreno Valley spared life, if not property, from thousands of acres of burning land. 

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) took pre-emptive measures.  They shut off power in over 30 counties in northern California.  In this way, they avoided a repeat of the 2018 fire season, the state’s deadliest, in which electrical equipment was blamed for conflagrations that killed 85 people and destroyed 19,000 homes.  

But the shutoffs were a disaster of another kind.  They left close to a million people and more than half the counties in the state without power, or recourse, for nearly a week.   

The PG&E power shutoffs were a colossal failure, according to utility and elected officials, local agencies, and residents.   The disruption was widespread:  accidents caused by failed street lights, schools closed, businesses idled, food supplies and basic services – public transit and water – compromised.   And as premeditated as this emergency response was, residents were left in the dark; not just from the power outage, but from the lack of information.  No one could get information about what to expect or what to do in a power emergency.   PG&E’s communication and computer systems crashed, their website went down, their community resource centers were underprepared and useless.  The shutoff prevented fires, but not the burn; everyone fumed.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is California’s Second Biggest Utility On Verge Of Collapse Next: Edison Plunges After Saying It May Be Responsible For Deadly 2018 Fire

Is California’s Second Biggest Utility On Verge Of Collapse Next: Edison Plunges After Saying It May Be Responsible For Deadly 2018 Fire

With California’s largest utility, PG&E,  now bankrupt after starting the deadliest fire in California history, and cutting power to its customers at the mere hint of a windstorm that could leave it exposed to more multi-billion lawsuits, leaving millions in the dark, California’s second largest utility, Edison, may soon be insolvent too.

The stock of Edison International, which is California’s second biggest electricity provider through its Southern California Edison subsidiary, which distributes electricity to 5.1 million customers in central, coastal, and southern California, collapsed after the close when the company reported in its earnings call that California investigators concluded equipment owned by Edison International’s utility caused one of the most destructive fires in state history, which killed three people and burned down entire sections of Malibu.

California county fire officials said that the Woolsey Fire, which raged for weeks in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in November 2018, was sparked by the utility’s electrical equipment, Edison CEO Pedro Pizarro said in a call with investors on Tuesday.

EIX shares plunged as much as 19% to $52.75 in after-hours trading before modestly recovering some losses to trade at $62.95. Edison investors had expected the company would be blamed for the fire.

The finding comes as California grapples with a wildfire crisis that’s pushed the state’s largest utility, PG&E Corp., into bankruptcy.

While the company said earlier this year that it believed equipment owned by its Southern California Edison utility may be cited as the cause, and it took a $4.7 billion charge in connection to wildfires in 2017 and 2018, the question now is whether that charge will be sufficient, and whether the company may in fact follow PG&E into the abyss of insolvency as it scramble to file for protection from mounting lawsuits.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

PG&E’s Rolling Blackouts Could Leave 1.8 Million Californians Without Power

PG&E’s Rolling Blackouts Could Leave 1.8 Million Californians Without Power

Parts of California are seriously starting to behave like a third world country. No, we’re not talking about the poop, homeless, and opioid crisis on the streets of San Francisco, we’re talking about rolling blackouts from the state’s electric company, PG&E Corp.

The next round of blackouts are expected on Tuesday, as 1.8 million Californians will experience their fourth planned power shutoff this month.

The warning of the next big blackout came late Monday as PG&E restored electricity to nearly one million residents after the company cut power over the weekend to prevent windstorms from knocking over its powerlines and sparking fires, reported Bloomberg.

With another windstorm expected for Tuesday, PG&E will reduce power to 605,000 homes and businesses in the Bay Area, California’s wine country, and several regions around Sacramento to minimize powerline accidents that could spark wildfires.


https://www.pscp.tv/w/cIeJjDkzODA0NDl8MUJSS2pxQXZWZ3d4d1U3la9SE5mo_CEcIGO1BKpY0t36Nt_uT5pPv5XWxlVE …PG&E @PGE4MePGE4Me was LIVEpscp.tv209:12 PM – Oct 28, 2019


The Kincade Fire, currently burning in Sonoma County, started last Wednesday after a PG&E high-voltage transmission line was blown over by a windstorm.

PG&E has been routinely criticized for its faulty equipment sparking a string of wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that killed dozens of people and destroyed hundreds of structures with estimated damage of $30 billion. PG&E has since filed for bankruptcy as its stock has crashed 95% in 25 months.

Bloomberg notes that 3 million Californians are still recovering from last week’s blackout, with at least half of those folks without power through Monday night. Most of these folks without power will likely remain in the dark as the next round of blackouts starts Tuesday morning.

“This event will start to impact the same people again in certain areas,” PG&E utility chief Andy Vesey told journalist Monday. “It is the weather — it’s not something we can control.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California Faces “Biggest Blackout Ever” As 2.5 Million PG&E Customers May Have No Power For Days

California Faces “Biggest Blackout Ever” As 2.5 Million PG&E Customers May Have No Power For Days

Earlier this week we joked that with PG&E now scrambling to enforce intentional blackouts every time there are powerful winds for fears the bankrupt company’s aged infrastructure could cause a new fire, “every time the wind blows California will become Venezuela.”


PG&E: 1.2 MILLION POWER CUSTOMERS IN FIRE WEATHER WATCH AREA

Every time the wind blows California will become Venezuela


Turns out it wasn’t a joke.

On Friday, with its stock crashing to a new all time low amid speculation it may have been responsible for the latest California inferno, the Kincade Fire

… PG&E warned it will shut off power again on Saturday to as many as 2.5 million people as violent winds batter the state, in what according to Bloomberg will be “California’s largest intentional blackout ever.”

According to a Friday statement, approximately 850,000 homes and businesses in Northern California, including much of the San Francisco Bay Area, may be impacted beginning Saturday evening. And with data models indicating the weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades, with widespread dry Northeast winds between 45-60 miles per hour (mph) and peak gusts of 60-70 mph in the higher elevations through Monday, large swaths of the region could be without power for days.

California Fire-Threat Maps, source: CPUC

“The upcoming wind event has the potential to be one of the strongest in the last several years. It’s also likely to be longer than recent wind events, which have lasted about 12 hours or less,” said Scott Strenfel, Principal Meteorologist with PG&E.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

PG&E May Sporadically Cut Power To Californians For A Decade

PG&E May Sporadically Cut Power To Californians For A Decade

Californians trying to justify living in the Golden State might be updating their pro/con list by occasional candlelight for up to a decade, according to PG&E. 

On Friday, the state’s largest utility announced that intentional power outages aimed at preventing wildfires may continue for up to a decade. 

CEO Bill Johnson later clarified during a Friday meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission, saying “I didn’t mean to say we’d be doing it on this scale for 10 years. I think they’ll decrease in size and scope every year.” 

Any of PG&E’s 5 million electric customers can be affected by the practice known as Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), which cuts electricity to avoid causing fires during high winds and dry conditions.

California Public Utilities Commission said it held the emergency meeting specifically to hear from PG&E’s executives regarding “the mistakes and operational gaps identified in the utility’s latest Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) events and to provide lessons learned to ensure they are not repeated.” –CNN

Last week nearly 800,000 Californians lost power after PG&E shut it off to lower the risk of wildfires caused by the company’s equipment. The outage cost the city of San Jose at least half a million dollars, according to the mayor. 

According to PG&E, however, “dealing with wildfires is the new abnormal within California.” 

The utility faced harsh comments during Friday’s meeting, with Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer saying she was “astonished” at PG&E’s lack of modern technology and services – citing the fact that even their website crashed during the shutdown

“This is not hard,” Batjer told PG&E execs. “You guys have failed on so many levels on pretty simple stuff. You need to get there now. Not at the end of the year. Now.” 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“This Did Not Go Well” – PG&E’s Rolling Blackout Sparked Chaos In Bay Area

“This Did Not Go Well” – PG&E’s Rolling Blackout Sparked Chaos In Bay Area

Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) historic blackout plunging hundreds of thousands of customers into darkness last week was a massive communication breakdown that sparked criticism over the two-day blackout that was designed to avoid wildfires, reported The New York Times.

PG&E officials said over the weekend that most of the power had been restored to everyone except for 2,500 customers across several Bay Area counties and promised to fix communication channels with customers.

“We’ll get better in the next month and better in the next year,” PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said Saturday.

“Communication to customers, coordination with state agencies, website availability, call center staff, that’s where you will see short-term improvements.”

Last Wednesday, PG&E triggered rolling blackouts for nearly 735,000 homes and or businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area amid the threat of strong winds and dry conditions that would’ve damaged transmission wires and sparked dangerous wildfires, similar to what was seen last year. Most of the residents were restored by Friday afternoon, but 99.5% of its customers saw full power by Saturday. 

PG&E Blackouts Spread Across Northern California

The shutdown caused widespread confusion about the planned power outage, and according to some experts, billions of dollars in economic losses were sustained by local businesses during the two-day blackout.

PG&E’s website and communication network that relayed essential data about the blackouts crashed, leaving many without details about what was happening. 

“There were definitely missteps,” said Elizaveta Malashenko, a spokesperson for the state Public Utilities Commission who was in the PG&E control center. “It’s pretty much safe in saying, this did not go well.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California Hit By Dual Shock: LA Gas Prices Spike Above $5 As Residents Learn Solar Panels Don’t Work In Blackouts

California Hit By Dual Shock: LA Gas Prices Spike Above $5 As Residents Learn Solar Panels Don’t Work In Blackouts

Millions of Californians may have just suffered an unprecedented, induced blackout by the state’s largest (and bankrupt) utility, PG&E, just so it isn’t blamed for starting even more fires causing it to go even more bankrupt… but at least the price of gas is soaring.

According to Fox5NY, citing figures from AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Los Angeles County was $4.25 on Wednesday, 4.5 cents higher than one week ago, 57.6 cents more than one month ago and 37.1 cents greater than one year ago. It has also risen 86.4 cents since the start of the year. What is more troubling is that as California gas prices reached the highest level in the state since 2015, some Los Angeles area gas stations are charging more than $5 a gallon.

The gas price spike started last month after Saudi Arabia oil production facilities were attacked, and accelerated after three Los Angeles-area refineries slowed or halted production due to maintenance issues and no imported gasoline was available to make up for the shortfall, according to Jeffrey Spring, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s corporate communications manager.


Only in California…

View image on Twitter

The shortage was made worse after local refineries cut back production of summer-blend gasoline in anticipation of switching to selling the winter blend beginning Nov. 1.

But wait, there’s more: America’s most “environmentally conscious” state got a harsh lesson in electrical engineering when many of the tens of thousands of people hit by this week’s blackout learned the hard way that solar installations don’t keep the lights on during a power outage.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“This Is The Third World”: Up To 3 Million Californians To Lose Power As PG&E Begins “Unprecedented” Blackouts

“This Is The Third World”: Up To 3 Million Californians To Lose Power As PG&E Begins “Unprecedented” Blackouts

As previewed last night, PG&E Corp., California’s largest (bankrupt) utility, began shutting off power Wednesday to an unprecedented 3 million people in Northern California in the face of hot, windy weather that raises the risk of wildfires. While the high winds are forecast to subside by late Thursday, the company will undertake extensive inspections of its equipment before turning electricity back on, meaning outages could persist into next week. More than 3 million people may be eventually affected, based on city estimates and the average household size. The economic impact may reach $2.6 billion.

Half a million homes and businesses in Northern California have already lost power as PG&E orchestrates the biggest-ever intentional power shutoff to keep its lines from sparking blazes. The company was scheduled to shut service to another 234,000 customers in cities including Berkeley and Oakland at noon local time, but told city and county officials that those cutoffs will instead start Wednesday evening. Strong, dry winds that heighten the risk of wildfires are picking up later than forecast, the company said.

PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center in San Francisco 

According to Bloomberg, never before have California utilities intentionally cut power to so many people for their own safety – and never has a shutoff affected such major metropolitan areas, even as the city of San Francisco and Silicon Valley appear spared. The undertaking is key to fairly new strategy by PG&E for preventing power lines from sparking another deadly – and costly – conflagration.

“This is unprecedented in terms of what all of us are facing as a community,” PG&E Vice President Sumeet Singh said at a media briefing Tuesday night. “We are doing everything we can to minimize the impact on our customers’ lives.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

PG&E Outage Leaves 60,000 People Without Power In San Francisco

PG&E Outage Leaves 60,000 People Without Power In San Francisco

Embattled utility PG&E reported a service interruption on Friday that cut power to 22,000 customers – about 60,000 people – in San Francisco and stranded riders on the city’s Muni rail service.

One reporter said problems with PG&E Substation A had likely caused the outage, which started just before 8 am PT. The utility is hoping to have power restored by 10:30. By 9:50 PT, power had been restored to some 7,000 customers, leaving 15,000 still without power.


DEVELOPING: PG&E power outage in SF impacting some 22K customers (appx 60K people). Utility officials on scene say it’s related to problems at Substation A near the Dogpatch neighborhood. Electricity out for traffic lights and Muni subway. Power should be restored @ 10:30.

View image on Twitter

Muni service was impacted in both directions.


UPDATE:

Power outage has impacted #MuniMetro rail service in the subway in both directions. We are organizing bus shuttles as quickly as possible to support svc b/t West Portal & Downtown. https://twitter.com/sfmta_muni/status/1175066231872733184 …https://c/status/1175065718083088389 


Here’s what the outage map looked like at its peak, with southeastern San Francisco the most heavily impacted:

PG&E is advising drivers to use extra caution and to treat traffic lights as four-way stops.

The utility said the cause of the outage is still under investigation.

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