“This Is The Third World”: Up To 3 Million Californians To Lose Power As PG&E Begins “Unprecedented” Blackouts

Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge Oct 9, 2019

As previewed last night, PG&E Corp., California’s largest (bankrupt) utility, began shutting off power Wednesday to an unprecedented 3 million people in Northern California in the face of hot, windy weather that raises the risk of wildfires. While the high winds are forecast to subside by late Thursday, the company will undertake extensive inspections of its equipment before turning electricity back on, meaning outages could persist into next week. More than 3 million people may be eventually affected, based on city estimates and the average household size. The economic impact may reach $2.6 billion.

Half a million homes and businesses in Northern California have already lost power as PG&E orchestrates the biggest-ever intentional power shutoff to keep its lines from sparking blazes. The company was scheduled to shut service to another 234,000 customers in cities including Berkeley and Oakland at noon local time, but told city and county officials that those cutoffs will instead start Wednesday evening. Strong, dry winds that heighten the risk of wildfires are picking up later than forecast, the company said.

According to Bloomberg, never before have California utilities intentionally cut power to so many people for their own safety – and never has a shutoff affected such major metropolitan areas, even as the city of San Francisco and Silicon Valley appear spared. The undertaking is key to fairly new strategy by PG&E for preventing power lines from sparking another deadly – and costly – conflagration.

“This is unprecedented in terms of what all of us are facing as a community,” PG&E Vice President Sumeet Singh said at a media briefing Tuesday night. “We are doing everything we can to minimize the impact on our customers’ lives.”

The shutoff was scheduled to occur in three phases, eventually affecting almost 800,000 homes and businesses, including in the San Francisco Bay Area and Napa County. The next phase will include parts of Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, among others. The utility will also turn off 21,800 customers in Mendocino and Calaveras counties who didn’t lose power during the first stage.

After that, PG&E will weigh a third one for the southernmost portions of its service area, affecting 42,000. In all, about 15% of the utility’s customers may go dark.

The bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric, which announced the deliberate outage, is working to prevent a repeat of a catastrophe last November in which faulty power lines it owned were determined to have sparked California’s deadliest wildfire in modern history. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the “frustration that Californians feel as they deal with the impacts of these power outages is warranted,” but that safety was the main concern.

“The biggest threat looks to be today and continuing into the day tomorrow,” Marc Chenard, a senior branch forecaster with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, said of the fire risk.

Power lines are seen against a smoky landscape last November near Pulga, California, east of Paradise. Click to enlarge

“Our first priority is to protect people and to ensure that communities are safe,” the governor said in a statement.

In last year’s inferno, 86 people died and a town called Paradise was virtually destroyed. PG&E has been found responsible for dozens of other wildfires in recent years, too. This is peak wildfire season in California.

With large portions of the San Francisco Bay area set to be affected – including cities such as Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose – the shutdowns are a test for a densely populated region that’s the hub of the U.S. technology industry.

“Extremely critical” fire conditions were expected in parts of Northern California Wednesday, and in Southern California around Los Angeles county Thursday, the National Weather Service said. PG&E said the severe weather incident prompting its precautionary shutoffs — hot, dry conditions and winds gusting at up to 70 mph (110 kph) — was expected to last through mid-day Thursday in northern and central California.

Near Los Angeles, Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility said it was also considering cutting power to almost 174,000 homes and businesses. Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric warned that it could shut power to about 30,000 customers within the next two day

“Our first priority is to protect people and to ensure that communities are safe,” the governor said in a statement.

In last year’s inferno, 86 people died and a town called Paradise was virtually destroyed. PG&E has been found responsible for dozens of other wildfires in recent years, too. This is peak wildfire season in California.

With large portions of the San Francisco Bay area set to be affected – including cities such as Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose – the shutdowns are a test for a densely populated region that’s the hub of the U.S. technology industry.

“Extremely critical” fire conditions were expected in parts of Northern California Wednesday, and in Southern California around Los Angeles county Thursday, the National Weather Service said. PG&E said the severe weather incident prompting its precautionary shutoffs — hot, dry conditions and winds gusting at up to 70 mph (110 kph) — was expected to last through mid-day Thursday in northern and central California.

Near Los Angeles, Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility said it was also considering cutting power to almost 174,000 homes and businesses. Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric warned that it could shut power to about 30,000 customers within the next two days.

The outages already affecting regions such as the Napa Valley wine country could last up to a week in some places. There was some last minute good news: PG&E briefly put off the next round of unprecedented blackouts across Northern California for a few hours on Wednesday after weather forecasts took a turn for the better. However, they were still expected to kick in later in the day.

The turn in weather forecasts hasn’t yet changed how many customers are set to lose power according to Bloomberg. Utilities in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas were also warning of service cuts.

While the city of San Francisco is not affected by the intentional shutoff – after all the locals have to be able to see when they are about to walk into human shit – much of the surrounding Bay Area could go dark, including parts of Silicon Valley.  A prolonged outage threatens to roil the region’s economy by disrupting workers and everyday life.

“If you lose power for five hours, you may have to throw out some milk,” said Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at Stanford University. “If you lose power for five days, you need to throw anything that’s perishable away, and you are likely eating out of a can.”

Officials in Malibu — the glitzy home to Hollywood stars, which was also struck by last year’s inferno — said power company Southern California Edison had warned of another possible shutoff in areas from late Thursday through Friday.

More than 100,000 customers could lose power across eight Southern California counties, SCE said. Schools and universities closed Wednesday and people stocked up on gasoline, water, batteries and other basics.

“Early indicators are that the campus outage will last up to 48 hours,” said University of California, Berkeley, announcing all classes were canceled. The irony that this is taking place at the West Coast mecca of socialist thought was not lost on anyone.

With frustration rising, California state Sen. Jerry Hill described the mass blackouts as “excessive” in their scale.

“This cannot be something that can be acceptable nor long-term,” Hill told the Los Angeles Times. “This is third world, and we are not,” he added.

Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA in Los Angeles, tweeted that the power shutoffs were “a necessary bad idea in the short term” that shifts the financial costs from the power companies to the public.

As we reported last night, the first part of PG&E power cuts began midnight Tuesday into Wednesday in northern California. It affected more than 500,000 customers there, the utility company said.

An employee walks through a darkened pharmacy during a power cut in downtown Sonoma, California, Oct 9, 2019. Click to enlarge

The rest of the San Francisco Bay area was to start losing power in waves around noon local time. A possible third phase could take place later in the day farther south.

PG&E said it expected to start turning the power back on Thursday but can only do so after inspecting its equipment for damage, which could take days in some areas.

Unfortunately for customers, PG&E won’t be able to switch the power back on once the winds stop. Crews must inspect every inch of lines to ensure they’re safe to carry electricity again. Cities have warned residents to brace for six days without power. “It’s not just a matter of, ’red flag’s over, I can turn the lights back on,”’ said Gregg Edeson, a utility consultant. “The utility really does have to go out there and look.”

The utility that supplies water to much of the East Bay has rented backup generators for its pumping stations and plants, at a cost of $400,000 for the season. But the fuel to run those generators could cost $75,000 per outage, said Andrea Pook, spokeswoman for the East Bay Municipal Utility District. And the district is still asking customers to conserve water, limiting the need for the generators.

“As an insurance policy, we’re asking customers to be mindful,” she said.

PG&E’s warnings gave residents and businesses time to prepare, said Joe Eto, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory staff scientist. Many companies, he said, can now have employees work remotely, conducting business through the cloud if needed. And if their own homes go dark, there are other places they can take their laptops to charge up and work.

“Never underestimate the resourcefulness of people under stress,” he said. Then again, this is California…

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5 responses to ““This Is The Third World”: Up To 3 Million Californians To Lose Power As PG&E Begins “Unprecedented” Blackouts”

  1. PG&E got sued and lost after the Paradise incineration last year.

    They can not afford to keep power on and get sued again. So they are playing it safe and shutting the grid down where high winds exist.

    How’s that virtue signalling electric car workin’ for ya now you liberal fools? No power for your Tesla, no juice for your computer. Totally screwed by the centralized system.

    I bet you wish you had a 52 mpg Geo Metro with an extra can of gas:
    https://endofamerika.wordpress.com/2019/10/01/geo-metro-pollutes-less-than-a-tesla/

    With my culturally hated Metro I can power my cell phone that has unlimited data. I can drive 500 miles in areas where the gas stations are closed. The Geo Metro is one of the greatest cars ever built and in Amerika they are hated. What fools.

    Many of the solar paneled homes don’t have the circuitry to power the homes – they are only hooked to the grid. So the fools that had them installed are not getting any solar power either!

    CALIFORNIA IS FAILING AT EVERYTHING

    LIKE I HAVE BEEN SAYING, PREPPERS ARE LOOKING LIKE GENIUSES

  2. They seem to be going to outrageous lengths to distract attention from their own likely culpability in the fires due to their SmartMeters technology, and its weaponisation (the covert purpose for it in the first place).

  3. Yukon Jack I had 6K grid-tied solar panels in CA. I had to replace my inverter after around 8 years and ordered one from out-of-state that could be switched from grid to battery storage. The one that was delivered was grid-only. The vendor told me CA law banned
    dual function inverters. I had no power during blackouts because grid-tied inverters not only need grid power to function, they’re a hazard to to repair crews since they generate electricity that can’t be monitored during grid repair and could fry linesmen.

  4. America is a huge country, full of resources and opportunities. If it is suffering, THE ONLY REASON is mismanagement. Corruption is a result of mismanagement too.

    Everything American is about double-size and double-portion…not for the 45 million American poor though… but from such a worldview you can’t have a working efficient lifestyle and relevant systems to support it. There are times when people experience abundance, they get spoiled and then something happens they just can’t cope with. Only efficient systems can ensure stability. Wasteful systems can’t be stable… like a fragile puzzle, when one piece is removed the whole system is affected. One can’t change over night… it takes time. I am also against communists minimalism … people deserve better and more, there should be a healthy balance.

    America can’t sustain its inefficient systems, military, economy and lifestyle. Resources are finite and US power has diminished. Americans should have an all encompassing revolution, otherwise in the coming years it can only get worse. The American winter is coming and you should all prepare for it as a community not as individuals.

    Trump said 7000000000000$ (12 zeros!) was spent for CENTCOM in middle east alone; and for what? each of 300 million American could get ~23000$. With that money theoritically you could do everything and fix anything… but MONEY can’t!

  5. Rule 1 – If God wills a benefit to reach or not reach someone, no one can prevent it except one’s self!

    Explanation: Really believing in this alone makes you very courageous and resistant to fears. It must be “blind-belief” in the beginning but eventually you’ll see it for yourself! A wise man knows this for sure, but how can he ask someone else to see what he sees when they can’t yet!? Here “knowledge” is useless, knowing this truth is not enough. One must believe. It is like when for the first time you go swimming in the deep part. Not believing in Rule 1 affects your whole religion. Suddenly God is not all powerful and merciful or just.

    Practice: So how do you believe? Just the next time you go to work or school or shop… genuinely try to see things through that filter. It won’t take long and God enters your heart! Then you get to the next level and so on! Essentially when one is limited he can’t handle God. This is very easy… not some complex magic that only some weird old wise-man in a robe can pull off.

    Expansion: Now if you decide the above belief to be beneficial to humans, it does not matter what is your religion does it? Just don’t name your religion… a perfect God should be like that so it makes sense. I’m a Muslim, your a Christian, someone else is a Jew… doesn’t matter. We can all agree on that. If a monotheist not believe in that then his understanding of God will be comical and cartoon like.

    Problems: If in your view there are things that you see as too great! You must first learn to see them as they really are. So it helps to deny all little Gods/idols in your heart and once they are all destroyed then focus on the real God. Clean up your heart from the falsehood and filth so God can enter.

    One of the most important steps for preparation of Rule 1 is destruction of other false idols. The biggest one today is money and currency.
    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Money should be a measure, a unit to set values of other things, you can’t wake up tomorrow and see your ruler measures less because centimeter was shrunk over night!

    You must earn money through justified and good ways, otherwise it can’t be from God; and that which is not from God will have no lasting effect and must vanish eventually. On the other hand that which is from God is real and has lasting effect. One should not be deluded by the illusion of wealth! Remember that seven trillion dollal? (This can be directly derived from Rule 1)

    If you bring bad money for your family, it affects your offspring too. The impurity will affect their hearts and you are responsible for any evil they may do in the future. Bad money hardens the heart. God can’t manifest or be reflected in tainted hearts. A government polluting the entire nation must burn in hell in the deepest layers.

    As humans, Power is what we need, we are already created with free-will by God and that’s what counts. The other forms of enslavement imposed on us from outside are there because we have something wrong inside ourselves. To become powerful one MUST abandon smaller joys for bigger ones. One must let go of the immediate pleasure for the lasting and enduring and greater pleasure. This struggle makes us powerful. Power is earned standing while freedom often is given kneeling/begging! Freedom is the slogan of Satan.

    Abundance rots our hearts. We should not get ourselves too much dirty with the world. It is a bridge, one should not build a castle on the bridge. Those who are constantly in abundance can’t have more pleasure. In fact worldly pleasures are limited to our physical boundaries. If you eat more you just get bloated you can’t get more pleasure. Similarly sex. The best of the pleasures are for the believers! In fact if you don’t enjoy your life, you can’t thank God for it! If you live a healthy life you are automatically thankful to God.

    Everyone dies, this is the reality that no one can deny. In the end every man and woman’s share from this world is just a grave. All Pharaohs of the world become dust eventually.

    Technically if you don’t believe in the correct and real one God, you are afraid of other things. Fearful people never experience the love. They are dangerous and capable of causing the greatest crimes imaginable. In war they mutilate their foes if they can! Because they are weak. Satan rides on the waves of fear. The media does this. You all know this better than me. Rohani is the current Iran’s president because people were prone to fear! You know Khomeini’s first slogan when he came to power? “America can’t do a damn thing!”, that is the correct starting point! You must break the idol that has bewitched people. So really “Allaho Akbar” may sound weird specially when coming out of the Daesh Zombies, but it is the same thing that all religions advocate.

    God wants to make us strong, because he loves us and the first thing he asks is that he is the greatest and you should fear nothing but him. He is saying that in a loving way really and not in an intimidating way.

    I’m sure all of the main religions of the world have the same or similar core teachings. These are not some new things and we can all agree upon. Children of Adam and Eve will have their differences sorted eventually. That’s why Jesus (س) must also return because God loves Christians too. This has become long writing. Over and out.