CALIFORNIA POWER OUTAGES… FROM MAYBE TO CERTAIN THIS SUMMER & FALL

Every year, we know they’re coming. Summer’s extreme weather, plus our ever aging infrastructure, creates blackouts lasting anywhere from several hours to several days or more.

But this summer in California is different. Blackouts are not merely likely. They are inevitable.

In fact, officials at utilities including Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) have issued warning that blackouts are on the way.

Why? Because the utility is going to impose them over vast stretches of territory. All to reduce the risk and severity of wildfires.

HIGH WINDS WILL FORCE BLACKOUTS

Last year the deadliest wildfire in California history – the Camp Fire – was caused by the utility company PG&E. High winds made a transmission line snap, and dry conditions helped the resulting fire spread.

The state holds that the utility company is liable for the fire. But other utilities, including PG&E, say the only way to prevent this from occurring again is with preemptive power shutdowns when fire risk is high.

In fact, they have already started. In June, PG&E cut power to more than 20,000 northern California customers. One city has even been warned that blackouts could occur up to 15 times this summer and fall.

PG&E is the largest electrical utility in the state. It serves 5.4 million homes and businesses. The planned outages will mainly affect high risk areas for wildfires. But could also extend to just about anywhere in the Golden State.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR WORRIED

When situations like this exist, politicians usually speak out in a reassuring fashion. But not this time. In fact, California Governor Gavin Newsom freely admits he is worried. And for good reason.

“We’re all worried about it for the elderly,” he said. “We’re worried about it because we could see people’s power shut off not for a day or two, but potentially a week.”

In the past, PG&E had chosen not to do “Public Safety Power Shutoffs.” They knew how much of a negative impact the outages could have on the elderly and physically frail. Also those dependent on refrigerated meds.

But PG&E officials say they will be more assertive this year. They hope to reduce wildfires, and their liability for them.

FIRES GROWING IN NUMBER & MAGNITUDE

In just the past 18 months, six of California’s 10 most destructive wildfires have occurred.

The fires have shut down large portions of the electrical grid serving the state and caused more than 120 casualties.

There was an estimated $30 billion in claims against PG&E last year due to the Camp Fire. As well as from fires that occurred in 2017.

Not surprisingly, PG&E was forced to declare bankruptcy. They are now under tremendous pressure to make sure its equipment does not make the problem worse.

RESIDENTS NOT READY FOR OUTAGES

PG&E officials say they are taking steps to lessen the impact of power outages on their customers.

One of those steps is setting up “resiliency centers.” That’s where backup generators can be brought in to run essential services. This is due to the fact that the typical citizen does not own a backup power source.

At least one community is considering creating a network of micro-grids. They would be made up of solar panels and batteries to furnish power to the community.

However, despite warnings from the state and utilities, most Californians are not ready to handle power outages lasting several days.

PG&E spokesperson Michael Lewis warned, “We ask that all our customers… revisit their emergency plans and build or restock their emergency kits to prepare for potential power outages during wildfire season.”

WAYS TO PREPARE

Here are some preemptive measures that you can take to ready you and your family for potential blackouts in your area:

  • Have back-up power ready to go to power important appliances or medical devices.
  • Keep a phone available and charged.
  • Plan medical needs ahead. Have your daily meds stocked, and a backup power ready to keep refrigerated medications cold.
  • Update your contact info with your utility. Sign up for emergency alerts. (You can get these alerts via text, email or phone.)
  • Have an emergency kit on hand filled with first-aid supplies, a radio, flashlights, batteries, food, water, funds, etc.
  • Make sure you can open your garage door manually so you can get your vehicle out if necessary.
  • Make sure your vehicle’s gas tank is full. Without power, service stations may have to close.

ARE YOU READY TO LOSE POWER?

“Public Safety Power Shutoffs” aren’t going away. As transmission lines age and electricity loads increase, the risk grows that a new wildfire will break out.

And while Californians especially need to be prepared for these planned blackouts this summer and fall, it’s also important for those living in areas less affected.

You see, this past year alone, it was reported that 36.7 million Americans had some sort of outage in their area. Whether it be from downed trees, vehicles, natural disasters, or even exhaustion on our electrical grid from ACs… the list goes on.

That’s why it’s never been more important to own a solar-powered generator for when your power goes out.

Our top recommendation is our Patriot Power Generator.

This new and improved solar generator can be used to run kitchen appliances. Power your personal or medical devices. Or light up a room with an LED light string… for weeks at a time.

There is no worry about running it inside your house because it does not produce fumes like a gas generator. And it recharges using only the power of the sun, so you don’t have to worry about gas shortages either.

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