Frequency of power shut-offs frustrates mountain residents | News – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2021-10-16 21:00:00 –

Losing power for several hours is one thing. However, people living in the Rebec region say that it is a little inconvenient to turn off the lights repeatedly for a long time in hot or cold weather.

Joan Sievers, 70, who lives in O’Neill Canyon, can’t use the oven when Pacific Gas and Electric recently unplugged it in a wildfire situation. A wood-burning stove that she and her husband replenish all night helps replace central heating, but it warms their bedroom very little.

“It’s just frustrating,” she said, after PG & E turned off the lights again at 1:00 am on Friday. It came back again after about 16 hours. “This is very important, which means that it’s the third time in two weeks that we’ve been out of power for a long time.”

She and her neighbors have lost patience with the recent public security power outages designed to protect them from the threat of wildfires. Despite advance notice and availability of various resources, they say the system is not working well for them.

An additional frustration for some is the gap between the experience of shut-off and the experience of a neighbor at Frazier Park, where shut-off events occur less frequently.


Utilities say they are doing everything they can to mitigate the effects of shutoffs. They say that the recent vegetation is so dry that decisions about when and where to shut off power depend on weather conditions that are almost completely out of their control.

After PG & E experience with equipment suspected of having a wildfire and the resulting legal liability, safety comes first.

“At PG & E, we’re taking a stance to stop a catastrophic wildfire,” utility spokeswoman Katie Allen said in an email. “We don’t give our customers a chance to be safe. (Shut off last week) is a last resort that helps us maintain a privileged community to serve safely and reduce the risk of wildfires. is.”

She writes that the company understands that lack of electricity is difficult, especially for customers in areas with multiple power outages. She claimed that the company was doing what it could to reduce the effects of the blockage, sharing timely information about the weather and its equipment while continuing to protect the community.

Not yet

Some of Rebek say that’s not enough.

Resident Larry Skiva said he and many of his neighbors are using bonds and cannot be as prepared as they would be for making generators and other profitable investments.

He said the call to the local elected representatives went nowhere. On the other hand, the support provided by PG & E at the Rebec Post Office, where the Community Resource Center is located, is not sufficiently advanced.

“They hand you a bag of ice and maybe a blanket,” he said. (PG & E said it offers other resources such as snacks, water, Wi-Fi, device charging capabilities, washrooms, etc.)

Oxygen scare

His 73-year-old neighbor, Linda Wauser, is particularly struggling during shut-offs because she relies on 6 liters of oxygen per day. She was able to use the oxygen cylinder she had stored, but it was nerve-wracking.

“It’s a little scary to think (what happens) when oxygen isn’t available,” she said.

Last summer, when the temperature exceeded 90 degrees Celsius, the power was turned off and the air conditioner stopped for more than a day.

“Occasionally take a breeze and look for a shaded area,” Vauser said. She added that in the colder months these days, cooking and keeping food intact has become a challenge.

Lebec resident Cheryl Ausherma has similar problems keeping the CPAP sleep apnea running. There is a generator that can be used outside, but hesitated to keep running all night, annoying neighbors and added, “It’s very inconvenient and stressful.”

No comparison

Allen of PG & E couldn’t say how many times utilities had to call shut-off events in the Rebec region in the past year, or how long those outages lasted.

Southern California Edison, which serves the adjacent Frazier Park, was also unprepared to say how many times it had reduced its community’s electricity over the past year.

In any case, SCE spokesman Ron Gales said it was inappropriate to compare the incidence of disruption events in neighboring communities due to certain conditions affecting circuit segments.

“Recognize that it’s about the circuit, not the city,” he said. He said the most important factors in determining the timing of wildfire-related shutoffs are wind speed, relative humidity, and abundance of dry fuel.

Rebec residents say Friday’s blackouts were the shortest in the last few weeks, with the first one lasting more than a day.

Dry wind

PG & E announced Wednesday afternoon that it is monitoring a dry offshore wind event. This, coupled with extremely dry vegetation, could shut down on Thursday morning for approximately 16,000 customers in the District 12 District of California. Up to 655 Kahn customers could be affected.

Early Friday morning, Kahn cut power for 666 customers. As soon as the crew was able to patrol along the power lines that were turned off and check for damage on Friday afternoon, power was restored to all but 5%. Customers were told that around midnight there could be another blockage that could affect 670 customers, and the utility would notify them by text, email, and automatic phone as soon as possible.

PG & E encourages customers to take steps to prepare for shut-off events, such as hoarding medicines and other equipment. It also reminds people to check their older family.

Allen is a safety action Contains preparation tips and links to various resources.

Frequency of power shut-offs frustrates mountain residents | News Source link Frequency of power shut-offs frustrates mountain residents | News

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