Cutting electricity draws attention
The Antelope Valley was plagued with high wind again on Friday, much to the chagrin of those in danger of losing power because of the wind and potential fire danger.
It’s been a little more than a week since the Saddleridge Fire broke out in the San Fernando Valley. As a result of that blaze and the continued fire threat, Southern California Edison cut power to some unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. They weren’t the only ones, though. PG&E also cut power to millions in the Northern part of the state, leaving residents to figure out how to get along without electricity
A report in the Friday edition of the Antelope Valley Press stated that portions of the AV were under a watch for having the electricity shut off Thursday evening, because of fire danger.
“As of 6 p.m., Thursday, a stretch of Tehachapi Willow Springs Road stretching south of Mojave and the Acton area were
under consideration for power shutoff by Southern California Edison officials,” the report said.
Edison estimated a total of 2,041 customers in Kern County and 4,218 in Los Angeles County could be impacted, should SCE shut off the power.
In another report in Friday’s paper, the Associate Press reported that the leader of the California Senate asked a committee to investigate a utility company’s decision to cut power for two million, to prevent wildfires. That was the incident mentioned earlier, when folks in the Northern part of the state were cut off.
“The public understandably is outraged over the problems that arose with these shutoffs,” Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins wrote in a memo to the Senate Democratic Caucus.
Atkins said an oversight hearing would be scheduled in the next few weeks.
It’s sort of understandable why the power companies would cut the power.
They don’t want to get sued in case a line causes a fire, which results in the loss of homes. But at the same time, the power companies don’t seem too concerned about the people they provide service to.
Sure, they can avoid one of their live lines sparking a fire, should it come in contact with fire fuel, however, they don’t seem to be taking into consideration that some people actually need electricity to power certain things, which they depend on, daily.
For example, nebulizers, power chairs or beds and other medical equipment. But it’s not just people with medical issues that are adversely affected. Restaurants and individuals no doubt lost some of their refrigerated goods when the power went out. It’s not a natural disaster that caused the power outage, but rather, the company that supplies it.
In their rush to cover their own hides, they have made life inconvenient for their customers.
California’s top utility regulator blasted PG&E for “failures in execution” during the power shutoff and ordered the company to set a goal of restoring power within 12 hours, instead of two days.
While still inconvenient, 12 hours is much better than 48.
There still has to be a better way to deal with the potential fire hazard, than cutting peoples’ electricity.
Hopefully the investigation by the Senate Democratic Caucus will shed some light on other alternatives and customers won’t be left in the dark when high wind causes a fire threat.