Cut­ting elec­tric­ity draws at­ten­tion

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

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.

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