OT: So, who is getting their power shut off?

5,303 Views | 155 Replies | Last: 2 days ago by going4roses
sycasey
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https://www.sfgate.com/california-wildfires/article/pge-potential-power-outage-map-wind-fire-14501332.php

https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/public-safety-event.page

PG&E's map has been off and on all day, but last I checked my house in Oakland is not meant to be in one of the impacted zones. It's confusing, though, since nearby neighborhoods are in that zone, so we're still covered by one of the "blue blobs" like on the SFGate map.
bearister
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I understand PG&E's position in the matter but the corporate conspiracy theorist in me says that PG&E ate a $h@it sandwich because failure to maintain its equipment was linked to fires and that PG&E knows GD well which equipment needs remediation but by doing these shutdowns two goals are accomplished:

1. By shutting down the power they can save money on massive repairs; and
2. They are flipping a large bird to the public while screaming, "WHOSE YOUR DADDY!"

I remember a standup comic in the 1980's at The Punchline in SF posing the question, "What does PG&E stand for?" and providing the answer: "Pr@icks Grabbing Everything."
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CannonBlast
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bearister said:

I understand PG&E's position in the matter but the corporate conspiracy theorist in me says that PG&E ate a $h@it sandwich because failure to maintain its equipment was linked to fires and that PG&E knows GD well which equipment needs remediation but by doing these shutdowns two goals are accomplished:

1. By shutting down the power they can save money on massive repairs; and
2. They are flipping a large bird to the public while screaming, "WHOSE YOUR DADDY!"

I remember a standup comic in the 1980's at The Punchline in SF posing the question, "What does PG&E stand for?" and providing the answer: "Pr@icks Grabbing Everything."
I work for another utility in California and I'm deeply involved with the issue of wildfire mitigation.

1. Absolutely false -- all utilities are upgrading the grid to be more resilient to wildfires and the new normal of having wildfires year-round. There is no incentive for utilities to cut corners on this because California IOUs make a profit by getting a return on capital investment. So upgrading infrastructure would actually be good for shareholders. Money is not made off the sale of electricity.

2. I can't speak for PG&E, but the dangers of powerlines being the ignition point for wildfires is REAL. Most of us live in the communities we serve. Many of us know someone that has lost a family member or have lost a home in one of the massive fires in recent years.

People can say that utilities are proactively turning off power just to save their own hide. I guess it's a matter of perspective and some people can choose to be cynical. Obviously, there is a massive liability for utilities in California (let's not get started on the legal doctrine of strict liability), but if you witnessed the damage and human cost of life first hand in the wake of the Camp fire, Woolsey or the Wine Country fires, it's hard to say the utilities are just flipping the bird and being passive-aggressive.

That said, observing the PG&E stuff from afar, I'm curious why they are taking such a blunt instrument to de-energization. The other utilities are being more surgical in their approach to this process -- on a circuit by circuit basis. PG&E does have the most high fire risk areas than peer utilities by square miles, but still...it doesn't seem to make sense.
sycasey
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CannonBlast said:

That said, observing the PG&E stuff from afar, I'm curious why they are taking such a blunt instrument to de-energization. The other utilities are being more surgical in their approach to this process -- on a circuit by circuit basis. PG&E does have the most high fire risk areas than peer utilities by square miles, but still...it doesn't seem to make sense.
Yeah, seems a little bit like overkill, doesn't it? 800,000 customers need to lose power?

Now, maybe it will turn out that the great majority of these customers just lose power for part of a day and it's not a big deal. They are asking people to prep for up to 5 days, but I'd guess that's only in places where a power line actually goes down or something.
CALiforniALUM
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bearister said:

I understand PG&E's position in the matter but the corporate conspiracy theorist in me says that PG&E ate a $h@it sandwich because failure to maintain its equipment was linked to fires and that PG&E knows GD well which equipment needs remediation but by doing these shutdowns two goals are accomplished:

1. By shutting down the power they can save money on massive repairs; and
2. They are flipping a large bird to the public while screaming, "WHOSE YOUR DADDY!"

I remember a standup comic in the 1980's at The Punchline in SF posing the question, "What does PG&E stand for?" and providing the answer: "Pr@icks Grabbing Everything."



They charge you by the kWh consumed. I'm sure they don't take this decision lightly.

bearister
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Pete Townshend is going to go ballistic if the power goes off at Chase tomorrow when he is shredding a guitar solo.

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sycasey
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bearister said:

Pete Townshend is going to go ballistic if the power goes off at Chase tomorrow when he is shredding a guitar solo.
San Francisco is not part of the shutoff plan, so Pete should be fine.
Strykur
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sycasey said:

bearister said:

Pete Townshend is going to go ballistic if the power goes off at Chase tomorrow when he is shredding a guitar solo.
San Francisco is not part of the shutoff plan, so Pete should be fine.


SF (also where I am at) is the only county in NorCal not affected by this it looks like.
LunchTime
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CannonBlast said:

bearister said:

I understand PG&E's position in the matter but the corporate conspiracy theorist in me says that PG&E ate a $h@it sandwich because failure to maintain its equipment was linked to fires and that PG&E knows GD well which equipment needs remediation but by doing these shutdowns two goals are accomplished:

1. By shutting down the power they can save money on massive repairs; and
2. They are flipping a large bird to the public while screaming, "WHOSE YOUR DADDY!"

I remember a standup comic in the 1980's at The Punchline in SF posing the question, "What does PG&E stand for?" and providing the answer: "Pr@icks Grabbing Everything."
I work for another utility in California and I'm deeply involved with the issue of wildfire mitigation.

1. Absolutely false -- all utilities are upgrading the grid to be more resilient to wildfires and the new normal of having wildfires year-round. There is no incentive for utilities to cut corners on this because California IOUs make a profit by getting a return on capital investment. So upgrading infrastructure would actually be good for shareholders. Money is not made off the sale of electricity.

2. I can't speak for PG&E, but the dangers of powerlines being the ignition point for wildfires is REAL. Most of us live in the communities we serve. Many of us know someone that has lost a family member or have lost a home in one of the massive fires in recent years.

People can say that utilities are proactively turning off power just to save their own hide. I guess it's a matter of perspective and some people can choose to be cynical. Obviously, there is a massive liability for utilities in California (let's not get started on the legal doctrine of strict liability), but if you witnessed the damage and human cost of life first hand in the wake of the Camp fire, Woolsey or the Wine Country fires, it's hard to say the utilities are just flipping the bird and being passive-aggressive.

That said, observing the PG&E stuff from afar, I'm curious why they are taking such a blunt instrument to de-energization. The other utilities are being more surgical in their approach to this process -- on a circuit by circuit basis. PG&E does have the most high fire risk areas than peer utilities by square miles, but still...it doesn't seem to make sense.
What other utilities have 100 billion dollar potential liabilities if some idiot with an illegal connection burns down a city?

Here is the problem: you can't POSSIBLY mitigate fire hazard California utilities are being asked to mitigate. You can't POSSIBLY have infrastructure good enough to protect California from fires the way the laws are written.

This isn't an issue of bad equipment. Equipment is irrelevant to California law. If something happens on the grid, PG&E has to pay as though they did have fault. With the dead trees and wind, a stupid little spark is all it takes to burn a town to the ground. Everyone paying any attention is aware of inverse condemnation. And on top of that, PG&E is still in court because some ******* made unsafe illegal connections and burned down a city. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/amp/Tubbs-Fire-victims-look-to-pursue-case-against-14114843.php

That means if there is a small risk of a fire, PG&E now is forced to shut off all it's power in the area. California has created a situation where no amount of risk is manageable.

The solution is clear as day: PG&E is at fault for their negligence. That's it. Entire problem solved.

And the cutting trees thing... Holy ***** The Sierra Club blocked them from cleaning trees. Where is their liability?

https://www.sierraclub.org/california/cnrcc/pge-clearcuts-power-lines

In fact, the mitigation program gets hammered by these environments all the time... https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/07/27/group-sues-lafayette-to-stop-pge-from-cutting-down-272-trees/amp/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.sacbee.com/latest-news/article219315140.html

Every time PG&E attempts to mitigate, they get sued and have to pay extraordinary costs to replace trees or straight out pay for downed trees, or are prevented from clearing the major cause of fires. The list of actions to prevent PG&E from mitigating, even after Tubbs and Camp is ridiculous.

So what can they do, exactly? They can't clear trees without lawsuit after lawsuit. They are liable when the fire isn't their fault due to inverse condemnation. They don't get lawsuits dismissed when it was shown it was an illegal connection.

Honestly, unless they get rid of that law, PG&E will get more and more willing to shut off power, because the HAVE TO to stay in business.

MAYBE if we cut the red tape on tree clearing they could safely operate under the current laws, but with how fast fires move now, I doubt it. Oakland Hills in 1991 was a once in a lifetime insane fire when it happened. Now we have two similar scope fires in the last two years. Maybe three.

PG&E isn't the problem. The problem is way bigger and the solution to prevent utility caused massive fires is WAY WAY more expensive than anyone will ever be willing to pay.
bearister
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San Bruno:

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PalyBear
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They are talking about potentially up to 7 days w/o power in some areas. Good thing we don%92t have a home game this week.
GMP
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Strykur said:

sycasey said:

bearister said:

Pete Townshend is going to go ballistic if the power goes off at Chase tomorrow when he is shredding a guitar solo.
San Francisco is not part of the shutoff plan, so Pete should be fine.


SF (also where I am at) is the only county in NorCal not affected by this it looks like.


NVBear78
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bearister said:

San Bruno:





Comparing Apples and Banana's and all agree that PGE should pay where they have caused the problem.
bearister
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Now they are talking about shutting down the Caldecott Tunnel. Methinks some interesting things were said in PG&E board meetings that will never find their way into the minutes. Watch next for proposed legislation relating to PG&E wildfire liability so that we can avoid an orchestrated crippling of the Bay Area's economy going forward.

Caltrans prepping for 'full closures' of Caldecott Tunnel, Lantos Tunnel | KRON4


https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/caltrans-prepping-for-full-closures-of-caldecott-tunnel-lantos-tunnel/amp/
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/caltrans-prepping-for-full-closures-of-caldecott-tunnel-lantos-tunnel/amp/
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CannonBlast
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Wow, Lunchtime, I didn't want to get into IC/SL, but you cut to the heart of the issue like you are a utility lawyer. It is precisely the issue we are all running into. I think only California and Alabama have this insane law baked into their constitution.

As for duration, its basically weather event + the time it takes to patrol the circuits to make sure there is no damage. So if you're out tomorrow, and the wind events don't subside until Saturday morning, you're looking restoration Saturday afternoon or evening.
GMP
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NVBear78 said:

bearister said:

San Bruno:





Comparing Apples and Banana's and all agree that PGE should pay where they have caused the problem.


To steal a line: why can't we compare apples and bananas? They're both fruit.
Another Bear
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I just looked at the map, wow, I guess they remembered the Oakland Hills fire...and they should.

In any case, can you run a generator during blackouts or is that prohibited? Thinking there might be a run on gennies at Costco, etc.
CannonBlast
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Another Bear said:

I just looked at the map, wow, I guess they remembered the Oakland Hills fire...and they should.

In any case, can you run a generator during blackouts or is that prohibited? Thinking there might be a run on gennies at Costco, etc.
As long as you plug the appliances directly into the generator. Back-feed can kill our guys.
82gradDLSdad
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PG&E's site tell me my power will be turned off. We have wind and about 8 trees here in Bay Point.
Another Bear
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CannonBlast said:

Another Bear said:

I just looked at the map, wow, I guess they remembered the Oakland Hills fire...and they should.

In any case, can you run a generator during blackouts or is that prohibited? Thinking there might be a run on gennies at Costco, etc.
As long as you plug the appliances directly into the generator. Back-feed can kill our guys.
Thanks, I was wondering. So do you work for SoCal Edison or LAWP? (Don't answer if it's personal.) My bro worked for SCE for 35 years, just retired last year. I've heard the stories of guys dying on the job.
going4roses
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Will BART be effected?
sycasey
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going4roses said:

Will BART be effected?

BART says no.

sycasey
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bearister said:

Watch next for proposed legislation relating to PG&E wildfire liability so that we can avoid an orchestrated crippling of the Bay Area's economy going forward.

Right on cue:

https://sf.curbed.com/2019/9/6/20853594/wiener-sb-378-blackout-pge-wildfire-bill
sp4149
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bearister said:

San Bruno:


You realize that wasn't an electrical line that started the San Bruno inferno. It was an underground gas line PG&E forgot about. Not really relevant to shutting down electrical power.

However underground utility lines are normally safer, just not completely safe.
bearister
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sp4149 said:

bearister said:

San Bruno:


You realize that wasn't an electrical line that started the San Bruno inferno. It was an underground gas line PG&E forgot about. Not really relevant to shutting down electrical power.

However underground utility lines are normally safer, just not completely safe.


I referenced San Bruno to shore up my argument that PG&E is not trustworthy.

" On January 13, 2012, an independent audit from the State of California issued a report stating that PG&E had illegally diverted over $100 million from a fund used for safety operations, and instead used it for executive compensation and bonuses...
... On April 1, 2014, PG&E was indicted by a federal grand jury in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, for multiple violations of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 relating to its record keeping and pipeline "integrity management" practices.[63] An additional indictment was issued by the grand jury on July 29, 2014, charging the company with obstruction of justice for lying to the NTSB regarding its pipeline testing policy, bringing the total number of counts in the indictment to 28.[64] Under the new indictment, the company could be fined as much as $1.3 billion, based on profit associated with the alleged misconduct, in addition to $2.5 billion for state regulatory violations.[64]

On January 21, 2017, PG&E was fined $3 million and ordered to perform 10,000 hours of community service for criminal actions of violating the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act and for obstruction of justice. In addition, it must institute a compliance and ethics monitoring program and spend up to $3 million to "publicize its criminal conduct". These actions were imposed after the company was found guilty by a federal jury in August 2016 of six of the twelve charges against the company in US District Court.[65]"

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Bruno_pipeline_explosion


How do like those bananas, I mean apples?
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RJABear
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We are losing power in Napa. Our business in Sonoma will be closed on Wednesday.

Time to grab a book off the bookshelf. I think i will read - Barbarian Days - by William Finnegan
going4roses
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Just feels like BS
sp4149
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There has been one big change in utilities in the last few decades, elimination of redundant feeds,
I suspect this is to reduce property taxes by eliminating redundant distribution lines. DOD used to require
separate power distribution feeds to DOD bases. For the last 30 years this became difficult and waivers were required to allow a single electrical feed. Many DOD bases had loop distribution lines and important buildings could be fed from one side or the other in the event a section of the loop was cut. A few older bases had steam power plants or hydroelectric generators. Some DOD bases had generators or cogen plants for important facilities. Most bases had portable generators and the NAVY prepositioned large units on the East Coast and West Coast.

I remember one Naval Air Station had their operations building running on a large leased generator for two years. Cal Trans could rent a generator to keep the ventilation fans in long tunnels running. I used to take the Broadway Tunnels every Friday night for 20+ years. I was fifteen minutes ahead of bus/tanker explosion tragedy. Closing even one tunnel created a commute nightmare, closing all four, I wouldn't bother.

The private sector has been putting all of its eggs in one basket. A few years back a PG&E contractor working on a sub station knocked out the only electrical feed to San Francisco. All the switchgear and circuit breakers required to isolate a section of a distribution line are expensive and require maintenance. The bean counter solution is to reduce maintenance costs and taxes by consolidating lines and eliminating equipment. Bringing electrical loads on line or taking them offline is not merely flipping a switch; poorly executed you bring the grid down. The broad brush approach of wide area outages is most likely faster and easier to manage, again a tradeoff. Expect the cost of the distribution system to be paid by all properties, even those with solar/wind as their primary source. Customers generating their own power will have to pay for the line maintenance even if they rarely use it.
CannonBlast
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sp4149 said:

There has been one big change in utilities in the last few decades, elimination of redundant feeds,
I suspect this is to reduce property taxes by eliminating redundant distribution lines. DOD used to require
separate power distribution feeds to DOD bases. For the last 30 years this became difficult and waivers were required to allow a single electrical feed. Many DOD bases had loop distribution lines and important buildings could be fed from one side or the other in the event a section of the loop was cut. A few older bases had steam power plants or hydroelectric generators. Some DOD bases had generators or cogen plants for important facilities. Most bases had portable generators and the NAVY prepositioned large units on the East Coast and West Coast.

I remember one Naval Air Station had their operations building running on a large leased generator for two years. Cal Trans could rent a generator to keep the ventilation fans in long tunnels running. I used to take the Broadway Tunnels every Friday night for 20+ years. I was fifteen minutes ahead of bus/tanker explosion tragedy. Closing even one tunnel created a commute nightmare, closing all four, I wouldn't bother.

The private sector has been putting all of its eggs in one basket. A few years back a PG&E contractor working on a sub station knocked out the only electrical feed to San Francisco. All the switchgear and circuit breakers required to isolate a section of a distribution line are expensive and require maintenance. The bean counter solution is to reduce maintenance costs and taxes by consolidating lines and eliminating equipment. Bringing electrical loads on line or taking them offline is not merely flipping a switch; poorly executed you bring the grid down. The broad brush approach of wide area outages is most likely faster and easier to manage, again a tradeoff. Expect the cost of the distribution system to be paid by all properties, even those with solar/wind as their primary source. Customers generating their own power will have to pay for the line maintenance even if they rarely use it.
This might be true for some utilities on the 55kV and above level since you're talking DOD bases, but for distribution level service in the average neighborhood, a looped radial system continues to be the standard/common practice. We are also adding a lot more branch fuses and remote automatic reclosures to segment the circuits even more so we can be that much more granular with isolating outages -- even for public safety power shutoffs. Yes, the exact opposite of what PG&E is doing here.
sp4149
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bearister said:




I referenced San Bruno to shore up my argument that PG&E is not trustworthy.

" On January 13, 2012, an independent audit from the State of California issued a report stating that PG&E had illegally diverted over $100 million from a fund used for safety operations, and instead used it for executive compensation and bonuses...
... On April 1, 2014, PG&E was indicted by a federal grand jury in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, for multiple violations of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 relating to its record keeping and pipeline "integrity management" practices.[63] An additional indictment was issued by the grand jury on July 29, 2014, charging the company with obstruction of justice for lying to the NTSB regarding its pipeline testing policy, bringing the total number of counts in the indictment to 28.[64] Under the new indictment, the company could be fined as much as $1.3 billion, based on profit associated with the alleged misconduct, in addition to $2.5 billion for state regulatory violations.[64]

On January 21, 2017, PG&E was fined $3 million and ordered to perform 10,000 hours of community service for criminal actions of violating the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act and for obstruction of justice. In addition, it must institute a compliance and ethics monitoring program and spend up to $3 million to "publicize its criminal conduct". These actions were imposed after the company was found guilty by a federal jury in August 2016 of six of the twelve charges against the company in US District Court.[65]"

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Bruno_pipeline_explosion


How do like those bananas, I mean apples?

I went to school, 1st grade to CAL with a recent PG&E president. He was never in an honors or AP class. But he was a smoozer and a Cal Business School grad. It's not just the cream that rises to the top. AS one of thousands of unemployed engineers on the West Coast in the early 70s, I interviewed with PG&E; I knew I wasn't getting a call back when I walked into the interivew room, the whole floor was white middle aged males, Portuguese were Non-Hispanic Hispanics for EEO purposes, the corporation lacked diversity. Many people are under the impression that the greatest oxymoron in DOD is military intelligence. Actually it is UTILITY MANAGEMENT; PG&E actually hired one of our least effective Admirals, they fired him after the first year. That should be a sobering thought, PG&E management could actually be worse.

AS a Bearister, I am sure that you don't expect a corporation to link a tragedy to their cost cutting bean counters working hard to keep Wall Street smiling.
going4roses
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Anyone have any info on them closing the Caldecott tunnel?
bearister
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going4roses said:

Anyone have any info on them closing the Caldecott tunnel?


Caltrans prepping for 'full closures' of Caldecott Tunnel, Lantos Tunnel | KRON4


https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/caltrans-prepping-for-full-closures-of-caldecott-tunnel-lantos-tunnel/amp/
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/caltrans-prepping-for-full-closures-of-caldecott-tunnel-lantos-tunnel/amp/

" Caltrans did not say when exactly the tunnels would close."
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sp4149
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CannonBlast said:


This might be true for some utilities on the 55kV and above level since you're talking DOD bases, but for distribution level service in the average neighborhood, a looped radial system continues to be the standard/common practice. We are also adding a lot more branch fuses and remote automatic reclosures to segment the circuits even more so we can be that much more granular with isolating outages -- even for public safety power shutoffs. Yes, the exact opposite of what PG&E is doing here.
SDG&E appears to be following the PG&E model. They had a remote line start a major fire many years ago. Much of the rural area is sparsely populated, so the outages in the rural areas of San Diego can cover very large areas.
Since the residents in those areas do not want to pay for fire districts, I can't blame SDG&E for being unwilling to accept more of the burden. That PG&E tree clearing proposal, 15 feet on each side would eliminate backyard vegetation in some neighborhoods I've lived in. Underground electrical lines would mitigate much of the danger, but that is a cost most older communities could not pay.
operbear
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This whole thing is PG&E bulls**t.
Take a look at the weather reports for Berkeley, Kensington, Richmond El Cerrito.
No suggestion of high winds, plummeting humidity, soaring temperatures.
Moreover, the only PG&E liability is for distribution towers and wires. For North Berkeley,
El Cerrito, etc., this line going down Moser, with more than adequate sway easement.
The Oakland fire was not caused by electrical malfunction.
PG&E is putting it to us who live here.
The sooner it is put out of business, the better.
Operbear
bearister
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operbear said:

This whole thing is PG&E bulls**t.
Take a look at the weather reports for Berkeley, Kensington, Richmond El Cerrito.
No suggestion of high winds, plummeting humidity, soaring temperatures.
Moreover, the only PG&E liability is for distribution towers and wires. For North Berkeley,
El Cerrito, etc., this line going down Moser, with more than adequate sway easement.
The Oakland fire was not caused by electrical malfunction.
PG&E is putting it to us who live here.
The sooner it is put out of business, the better.


Villagers with torches and pitchforks burn down Bay Area protesting PG&E power shutdown. Burned out homeowners file massive lawsuit against judgment proof villagers.

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