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Mt_Rider

True? Cut Power to Prevent Wildfires?

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https://www.theorganicprepper.com/pge-will-cut-power-to-some-california-residents-to-prevent-fires/

 

Hey Dogmom or other CA folks.... this article is saying that since unmaintained electric power lines are causing some wildfires, their solution is to cut power to those lines when it's deemed 'unsafe'.  Okay, I'm a firm believer in the stupidity of people...  :sassing:  and the more; the merrier.  But .....this seems a bit beyond belief.

 

I mean....if I were to write a WITHOUT WARNING [or...a Little Warning] scenario along these lines, you'd all be laughing, right? 

 

MtRider :scratchhead:  .....my motto:  ANYthing is better than wildfire......but still....

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Along the lines (no pun intended) of your Without Warning scenarios, with all of the 'smart meters' they can cut the power to just a selected few homes. I can only imaging how angry I would be if my neighbors had power but I didn't. Or how angry they would be at me if I did and they didn't.

 

Why aren't those electric lines being maintained in the first place?  :rolleyes:

 

The flip of a switch. We are all at the mercy of a flip of a switch.   :sSig_help2:

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Well, it wouldn’t surprise me at all for power to be cut. Power is an iffy thing for us sometimes. I know people in town nearby who say they haven’t lost power in 20+ years. But in rural areas, at least the ones where I have lived, power loss during and after storms (as long as 2-3 weeks before) is not unusual. I think power lines are better maintained in more populated areas.

 

Power loss has has been frequent enough that we have a generator and stored gas. We also have oil lamps, oil, matches, lighters and candles in glass containers. We have flashlights and camping lanterns and lots of batteries. We have grills and charcoal. I have the materials and instructions for a quick portable rocket stove, and we recently added a solar oven. We made sure that our electric fence charger is SOLAR charged this time, as long blackouts are not good times to have critters going AWOL, or predators visiting critters either!

 

But if you aren’t used to suddenly losing power, sometimes for no apparent reason, it is a good idea to consider how you will deal with it. It isn’t too bad if you are prepared.

 

Worst one for me was when 2 tornadoes took down the grid where I lived in March one year. It was still pretty cold. I had no power for over 2 weeks. The roads were mostly impassable too, so going to the store was impossible for the first number of days. Fortunately I had a fireplace AND DRY WOOD with which I was able to keep my pipes from freezing. I had stored water and food. But it could have been a really bad situation! During that time I had to repair a barn with hand tools, etc.

Edited by Cowgirl

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This is PG&E's solution for being blamed and fined for several wildfires in SoCal last year. The lines are in canyons and other hard to access "wilderness" areas in the hills where all the expensive houses are built and peppered throughout the area.

 

I believe they said they would be cutting power on very hot & windy days (Santa Ana type winds) and where there is already a fire burning to prevent falling live wires from sparking spot fires and/or endangering the lives of firefighters.

 

One would hope that people living in those homes would already be prepared with generators, etc, BUT, they seem to have the mentality that they have a RIGHT to have power and the gov't should "take care of it!" (prevention & replacement) Idiots who want the privacy and the "views" should know better!!!  :shakinghead: :gaah: :shrug: :faint3::tapfoot:

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Yes, it is one of the joys of rural living - isolation. There's good and bad in that isolation. You leave more than noise and pollution behind when you move to the boonies. You leave behind a measure of security and must become a bit more self-reliant. While there may be a grid, there isn't the population density to justify more than very minimal maintenance. It simply isn't cost-effective to do more. If the residents haven't come to expect power outages before, I am sure they will soon. Around here most folks are at least semi-prepared. After a big storm one of the first sounds one hears is generators starting up. 

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Well, Midnight....if it's just in specific small areas like you described, that's a bit more reasonable.  Kinda sounded to me like they'd just darken big sections of CA.  :wacko:     JIC....

 

I grew up on a farm in Iowa.  One hoped that the corn was indeed 'knee-high' at LEAST by the 4th of July cuz of the summer thunderstorms.  If the electric went out for a period of time, one needed the cornfields after the outhouse was no longer the back-up plan.  No well pump/no water.

 

Oddly, Maui was the other place that had a LOT of power failure when we first arrived.  That improved thru the years....and the same in the high mountain country here too.  Until a different phone company bought this area, telephone lines were seen laying on the dirt in the ditches.   ....can ya hear me now?.....

 

At this point, we get a blink in power [first one of season yesterday] but it comes right back on.  If you can count to twenty....  :unsure:  ...and it's not back on, proceed with PLAN B!  The story one time was a deer jumped into a ?? substation ??  Story didn't end well for the deer....

 

MtRider  .....thanks for the clarification, Midnight.  ALMOST ANYthing is better than wildfire! 

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The article linked in the OP is pretty accurate: it states what I said about WHEN PG&E would cut power. What I really don't understand, and what is disingenuous about the article is the criticism aimed at PG&E for taking this course of action! 

 

The website purports to be a proponent of self-reliance and personal liberty, YET, in the body of the article they are expecting PG&E to pay for customers' food losses and hotel stays due to power being turned off. You can't have it BOTH ways "Organic Prepper."  <_< Either take responsibility for preparing (like your banner says), or give up your site! :angry:  And having generators, etc IS part of "self-reliance" isn't it???  :scratchhead:

Capture.JPG

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PG&E says this will also affect some people living outside “extreme fire threat” districts in “elevated” threat areas also noted on the state map if they live on the same circuit.   How big is a circuit?

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On the one hand, the article seems whiney. We deal with such threats fairly often as do people who live in hurricane-prone areas. So, one thought I have is ... suck it up, Buttercup.

 

HOWEVER, I can see a good reason for anger IF people have been paying extra fees for safety upgrades to the grid and that work is not being done - anywhere. I do not live in that area and have no idea what extra fees have been paid nor for how long. But if people are being charged for something (grid upgrades) and the company is pocketing the fees as profits without providing the upgrades to any part of the grid, anger would be quite justifiable. If, however, the fees are low and are expected to slowly fund upgrades over a large area over a period of years, then it may just be whining. I am not going to make a judgment about it without more info.

 

That said, fair or unfair (life is rarely fair), the reality right now is that people in those areas need to be prepared or hurry up and get prepared. They have a warning about this risk now, and they need to prepare. We usually don’t get any warning, so they have some advantage. Well, our warning is a big storm in the horizon —ANY STORM could take out our power for hours, days, or weeks. But now they know, as we know generally, that they may lose power at any time. 

 

My advice would be to invest in a generator and store fuel. That should at least allow for running the refrigerator and maybe a few lights. Check the power rating on the generator and the fridge BEFORE buying. An underpowered generator is a waste of money. Buy fans unless the budget allows for running A/C on the MUCH LARGER generator. Store water. Store non-perishable food. Store less in the fridge and freezer and can whatever is in there now if a generator to run the fridge is not in the budget. Buy a canner and canning supplies. And can BEFORE the power is shut off. Or, look into dehydrating food NOW. If none of that is in the budget, eat whatever is in the freezer now, or look into storing it NOW at a relative or friend’s house outside the affected areas. Buy or build a solar oven. Look ahead to medical issues and plan accordingly.

 

Country living is not ideal for those who really need city level services, and possibly some may need to look at moving from those rural locations. This is a wake up call to those who moved to the country for the idyllic setting without considering the hardships that also accompany such a move.

 

Anger may be justified, or it may be misplaced. I don’t know. But that does not change the reality. The reality is that this is a wake up call to get prepared NOW.

Edited by Cowgirl
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10 hours ago, Midnightmom said:

The article linked in the OP is pretty accurate: it states what I said about WHEN PG&E would cut power. What I really don't understand, and what is disingenuous about the article is the criticism aimed at PG&E for taking this course of action! 

 

The website purports to be a proponent of self-reliance and personal liberty, YET, in the body of the article they are expecting PG&E to pay for customers' food losses and hotel stays due to power being turned off. You can't have it BOTH ways "Organic Prepper."  <_< Either take responsibility for preparing (like your banner says), or give up your site! :angry:  And having generators, etc IS part of "self-reliance" isn't it???  :scratchhead:

Capture.JPG

 

 

:24:

 

I know, right? This gal runs a prepper site, but clearly has NO CLUE about prepping. 

 

The article was so so biased and angry. Regardless of anger and blame that may or may not be justified, the article should have laid out known facts about the situation and then laid out what residents should do to get prepared to deal with this reality, with alternatives based on different budgets. I would expect this type of article from a fringe-y “news” site. I would not expect it from a valid prepper site. She missed a golden opportunity to calmly inform her California readers (if she has any) how to prepare for this known risk. She really needs to give up the pretense of being a prepper and delete her account. LOL!

Edited by Cowgirl

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Actually, that site has pretty good articles.  But perhaps this one wasn't the best?  :shrug: 

 

Again, if the funds are not spent as folks in these areas would like, causes anger [as Cowgirl noted] .....perhaps justified.  Perhaps not.  Unless its talking about those really remote and difficult areas that Midnight was referring to.....I think it IS the responsibility of the utility company to 'provide service'.  If a fire/flood/tornado/earthquake....LAVA FLOW  :o   takes out the lines, anyone [ESPECIALLY living rural]  knows these cases are exceptional.  And the folks new to rural living sure figure it out.

 

 

 

I'm just pondering possible scenarios that benefit utility companies and give no recourse to the customers.....  As In:   What if all the utility companies began to put in a clause that says they can simply STOP giving that service ....at odd times....because.....  :shrug:  

 

Here's a real examples:  My folks pay for a TV service locally.  It's quite frustrating because it's frequently not giving service......for no discernable reason.  They just get fuzz on the screen for hours.    They choose not to sign up for any 'dish'....and just put up with it.  But they're paying for so many hours of ZERO SERVICE......  without a weather/disaster cause.

 

Another example:  As I said, telephone service out here initially was very poor.  We're not THAT remote but there wasn't a high population density as 'in town'.  For a number of years, the only service available was literally lines laying in the UV-POTENT sun along the ditches.  No cell options.  Any time it rained, you could barely understand anyone you tried to talk with.  Should there be complaints for that poor service especially if no other option existed......and they still call themselves a 'phone company'?  Yeah, we all paid and put up with it.  [And were super-glad when another company took over and ran things more professionally.]

 

And no one complains if the ice storms of spring take down power/phone lines cuz....that's normal.   I believe there is a difference between normal [especially rural/remote] expectations of delivered utilities and .....simply poor management of utilities resulting in a pattern of poor service. 

 

....as preppers, it IS just one more Hooey Situation that we'd prepare for but different from disasters in that sometimes complaints to humans can effect a beneficial change.  Not true with :twister3: 

 

MtRider  :pc_coffee:

Edited by Mt_Rider
locked up ....
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Cheap power is a relative concept. I have family scattered across California and am aware of their high energy costs compared with what we pay. Still, it is cheaper to buy energy than to generate it themselves, so far.

 

Rural customers of any utility, whether telephone, cellular, television, Internet, electricity, etc. often expect the same level of service they had in the city. Unfortunately the economics of providing services to a scattered population are different than to a dense population. The cost per customer is vastly higher in rural areas vs. urban areas, and even small communities vs. urban areas. Yet, the rural customer gets the same cheap (relatively speaking) power and other service, although not usually at the level of urbanites. It is simply impossible, economically speaking, to provide rural customers with the same level of cheap service as the urbanite receives. While @Mt_Rider‘s new utility company was able to improve her service, that does not equate with such improvements being cost-effective everywhere across the board.

 

In California, the expectation is that the utilities move from cheap (relatively speaking) wooden line poles to vastly more expensive steel poles, amongst other changes to avoid increased wildfire risks (and risks to firefighters). That has not happened fast enough. Is it the fault of the electric company? I don’t know. For one thing, how is this transition being funded? 

 

Funding such safety is NOT CHEAP, particularly to rural and sparsely populated areas and across “wilderness” areas. Are the collective citizens of California willing to pay the high costs of this added expense? Apparently NOT., as they haven’t thus far. So, absent evidence of criminality and gross mis-management which I have not seen, I don’t think screaming about Stalinism is productive. Nor do I think that keeping power on at all costs, including the increased fire and death risks, is the appropriate response.

 

Regardless, the simple fact now is that the lines in rural and less populous areas have not kept up with the increasing fire risk due to climate change. That means that blackouts may be necessary for public safety. The article was ... WAY OVER THE TOP ... comparing this to Stalinist Russia, at least in my opinion. First, this is not a government decision. It is a corporate decision. Her response is, again just in my opinion, anti-prepper -- more akin to the response of a former urbanite used to having everything they need provided to them. In reading her site further, I see that she started out not that many years ago as an urbanite, and while she did the homesteading thing for a time, she now lives in town and makes her living advising preppers. :lol:

Edited by Cowgirl

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PG&E is a private company, BUT it is also a highly REGULATED one. Rates, etc are controlled (and capped) by the California Public Utilities Commission. 

http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/aboutus/

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Indeed, capped. The government of California limits what that utility can charge. If the rates get too high, voters squawk. Hence, are Californians paying, or WILLING TO PAY rates sufficient to upgrade all the rural lines to all steel poles, etc.? Apparently not. People want safety from fires and they want upgraded grid safety in rural areas while also having relatively cheap utilities and ... someone to pay for their hotel rooms if the power is shut off for public safety reasons? But they don’t want to actually PAY for it, for any of it? That is the conundrum. Hence the current situation. :lol:

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