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PG&E: 400K Bay Area customers could lose power this weekend in public safety shutoff

Original post made on Oct 25, 2019

As many as 850,000 PG&E customers across all of the utility's service area could lose power this weekend in the latest public safety power shutoff triggered by forecasted high winds.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 25, 2019, 4:37 PM

Comments (39)

26 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2019 at 8:32 pm

I wonder what is worse? Having the power shut off or a bunch of inexperienced folks filling generators with gas, at the same time overloading the generators with every cheap extension cord they can find. Truly frightening.

P.S. word has it that the Pescadero fire started by a solar system using lead acid batteries.


16 people like this
Posted by Monty Goforth
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2019 at 5:30 am

@Resident.
“P.S. word has it that the Pescadero fire started ...”

Don’t spread unsubstantiated rumors. It doesn’t help and if you’re wrong, you’ve caused a lot of confusion and misdirection. This is a serious issue and people are loosing their lives and homes and livelihoods.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2019 at 6:56 am

@ Monty

You are right, but I got the info from the guy that was one of first persons to call it in.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

And yet Foothills Park (and others) remain open.

If the case of fire in our foothills, we will have pandemonium trying to get everyone out.


5 people like this
Posted by John Jacobs
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2019 at 3:24 pm

John Jacobs is a registered user.

How do Palo Alto residents get the latest on impending power outages? When you go to pge.com and type in your address, the system can't find you. I suspect that's because we don't get our power directly from PG & E.


Like this comment
Posted by @John
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 26, 2019 at 5:43 pm

@John is a registered user.

Try City of Palo Alto Utilities on twitter? Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by rezi
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2019 at 7:42 pm

Third.world.

Formerly first world.


20 people like this
Posted by Starfish
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 27, 2019 at 8:36 am

Public utilities should.nit be for- profit entities. That puts them at Cross purposes.

PG&e has been forsaking safety for decades, sucking profit up to their parent company.

Jail time.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2019 at 9:02 am

A large part of the problem, as I see it, is that the power grid has been designed without safety in mind. The fact that power lines run across areas which are quite inaccessible and are poorly maintained as being the most expedient route makes little sense in a state where dry conditions and high winds happen every year.

High temps in October along with high winds are not a new situation. It is what happens every year in California.

PG&E have been responsible for fires and will be responsible for fires. Switching off the power is not preventing the problems although of course we don't know whether more fires may have been started if the power had remained on. However, if one fire is proven to have been started by a candle, a grill, a generator, or something that people have used because they have no power then their switching off power is worthless caution.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 27, 2019 at 3:35 pm

Not all the blame is on PG&E. PG&E has had their hands tied in regards to tree trimming because of environmental extremism. For example; If their is a bird of prey nesting in a tree that needs to be pruned, they have to get a federal permit to trimming the tree, which takes a long time. Also they cannot enter into areas that have a certain type of endangered salamander or frog, even if their has not been a sighting for years.

When their used to be more logging in California, part of the permit process required the loggers to trim around the power lines.

I am no fan of PG&E but some of the extremist environmentalists are definitely to blame.

When forests burn to the ground no one benefits.


24 people like this
Posted by Forest Raking Brigade
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Oct 28, 2019 at 11:10 am

> PG&E has had their hands tied in regards to tree trimming because of environmental extremism

What a crock.

> When forests burn to the ground no one benefits

Okay, you win the "Capt Obvious" prize. However, much of the wildlands that have burnt over the last few years, much due to PG&E mismanagement, is just that: wildlands, not forest.

PG&E has prioritized rolling up profits to the parent company, over safety and infrastructure investment. Why are you defending this egregious behavior, and with such a silly, infantile claim of "it's the environmentalists"?

Perhaps you'd like to go out and rake some forests?


22 people like this
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 28, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Maybe its time for all Stockholders of Record from PG&E to help pay for all the damage that PG&E has caused


16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2019 at 4:30 pm

PG&E are now admitting that it was their equipment that caused two fires yesterday in Lafayette, not a high risk area and not an area where the power had been turned off. One of the fires destroyed the club house of a tennis club.

So with all the power being switched off we are still getting fires caused by power lines.

Tell me again why we are not insisting that in residential neighborhoods the powerlines are not being put underground?

I am getting more and more disgusted by PG&E, and PA Utilities are not much better.


20 people like this
Posted by Wondering
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 28, 2019 at 9:58 pm

My friends from Europe keep asking in disbelief whether it's true that we here in California are getting our power shut off because of fires and strong winds ..


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2019 at 9:48 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of Barron Park

>> Not all the blame is on PG&E. PG&E has had their hands tied in regards to tree trimming because of environmental extremism.

Please take this seriously: I would like to see exactly what you are talking about, with citations from regular mainstream media etc. Explanation below:

>>For example; If their is a bird of prey nesting in a tree that needs to be pruned, they have to get a federal permit to trimming the tree, which takes a long time.

Could be. I would like to see citations.

>> Also they cannot enter into areas that have a certain type of endangered salamander or frog, even if their has not been a sighting for years.

>> When their used to be more logging in California, part of the permit process required the loggers to trim around the power lines.

Could be, but, as I've seen it so far, it appears to be the timber industry vs everyone and everything else. Environmentalists tend to favor old-growth forests. So do amphibians, certain birds that you may be referring to, (but, not all birds), and fisheries, e.g. salmon, steelhead, trout. Old-growth forests sometimes sequester large amounts of carbon. And-- they tend to be more fire-resistant and have lower fire velocity when there is a fire. Old-growth forests also tend to be soil conserving and better for creeks, streams, and rivers.

The timber industry tends to favor dense, new forests that grow back quickly to a uniform height and then are harvested via heavy logging equipment. Faster spreading fires, higher erosion, faster runoff, poor fisheries-- often destroys salmon and steelhead runs for example.

Power companies have no particular reason to love fast-burning new-growth forests. Maybe they got more free tree-trimming, as you say?

If there is a particular permit process that is actually creating danger, let's hear about it, but, the timber industry is the least objective source of information-- I want to hear about it from others.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 30, 2019 at 8:07 pm

@ Forest Raking Brigade

I was not defending PG&E in anyway. But their is more than one criminal element that is to blame for this. That would be the PUC and California's extreme regulations.

The forest needs to be thinned of dry fuel, environmental policy makes it very difficult and costly to do.

Secondly, If folks think we can put all the power underground they are sadly mistaken. It will never happen, it costs too much, and if their is a problem, that also costs too much to fix .

Got it Captain Oblivious


20 people like this
Posted by Forest Raking Brigade
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Oct 30, 2019 at 10:51 pm

You went from:

"PG&E has had their hands tied in regards to tree trimming because of environmental extremism"

to

"The forest needs to be thinned of dry fuel, environmental policy makes it very difficult and costly to do."

Neither claim can be subsubstantiated from independent sources.

The LA fires are grasslands. Much of kinkaid is grass and wildlands, not forest.

Your agenda is both obvious and oblivious. And silly.



2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 31, 2019 at 8:41 am

PG&E many times has their hands tied when it comes to trimming around power lines.

Two of the tree trimming companies ( MARIO'S and Utility, formerly Asplund) in the gold country backed out of contract with PG&E because they wanted the companies be responsible for all trees falling into the lines. Mountain Enterprise has one of the contracts now.

Their are a lot of environmental regs the keep the tree trimmers hands tied for trees around power lines.

PG&E is definitely to blame for non maintenance. I have heard first hand from out of state inspectors how bad the the infrastructure is.

I am all for throwing folks in jail starting with ex PG&E CEO Giesha Williams.

Guys and Gals that work in the field that sometimes they have their hands tied with clearing brush in wildland areas due to a certain kind of protected Beatle.

So until we underground, fix the aging power lines and clear everything under the lines. We should Expect more fires for many years to come.




4 people like this
Posted by Forest Raking Brigade
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 31, 2019 at 9:25 am

Resident blames others for the rules that PG&E puts on their tree cutters:

"...backed out of contract with PG&E because they wanted the companies be responsible for all trees falling into the lines."


And this?

"Guys and Gals that work in the field that sometimes they have their hands tied with clearing brush in wildland areas ..."

Are these the mythical forest-rakers we hear about?

Thank you, Guy and Gal forest-rakers!!


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2019 at 10:14 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens

>> Guys and Gals that work in the field that sometimes they have their hands tied with clearing brush in wildland areas due to a certain kind of protected Beatle.

Could be. Can you post some links to mainstream news articles? I would like to read the specifics.

I'm not saying environmental regulations are never an issue for PG&E. But, I've been seeing complaints for a long time from the -timber industry- that are very wrong-headed when it comes to wildfires.

The other main issue with respect to Paradise-type wildfires is that you can't really have prescribed burns in the middle of these forest towns, and, it is very difficult to get everybody to clear and mow and "rake" their 1-acre properties. You can't get everybody to build fire-resistant housing. This seems to be a politically unsolvable problem.


8 people like this
Posted by Forest Raking Brigade
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 31, 2019 at 10:41 am

> ...with citations from regular mainstream media etc.
> Can you post some links to mainstream news articles?

No, my good neighbor doesn't substantiate his falsehoods (because they do not exist in the real world.) You've responded kindly to the ravings for long enough to know that. He sees the world his way (to say: fact-free.)

Just like his hero, who lies, repeats the lies, lies again, spreads trash and moves on.

"President Trump has made 13,435 false or misleading claims over 993 days" Web Link







4 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Oct 31, 2019 at 12:08 pm

"And yet Foothills Park (and others) remain open.

If the case of fire in our foothills, we will have pandemonium trying to get everyone out."

What makes you say that? People will be in a hurry to get out, but it is not like there are several thousand of them. The only people who would be in any danger are hikers out on the trails, and even then only if the fire started nearby.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 31, 2019 at 5:07 pm

I could not think of the name of the beetle earlier. It is called the Valley Elderberry Beetle.
It is a threatened species. From what I have been told by guys that work on clearing the lines is they are not allowed to cut the bush this insect feeds on.

Thanks for pushing me to look it up.

The valley elderberry longhorn beetle, (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), is a subspecies of longhorn beetle native to the riparian forests of the Central Valley of California from Redding to Bakersfield. It is listed as a federally threatened species; a proposal to delist the insect was withdrawn in 2014.[2]


2 people like this
Posted by Forest Raking Brigade
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 31, 2019 at 5:28 pm

You LOOKED IT UP?!?

Quote: "From what I have been *told* by guys..."

You don't get it, do you? (actually you do, you're just trolling @anon.)

You claim hearsay from "guys". You then destroy your own made up stories by admitting the problem is with PG&E, not some phantom environmentalists: "... with PG&E because they wanted the companies be responsible for all trees falling into the lines."

Then it's "Guys and Gals that work in the field that sometimes they have their hands tied..."

Ya got nothin'.

Absolutely nothing.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 31, 2019 at 5:44 pm

Hearsay?!
Look up Wiki under Elderberry beetle.


14 people like this
Posted by Forest Raking Brigade
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 31, 2019 at 6:37 pm

One needn't bother looking up an endangered species.

Your sole substantiation for your claim:
"Guys and Gals that work in the field that sometimes they have their hands tied with clearing brush (for PG&E) in wildland areas..."

The only thing remotely close to true about your claim is that there is such an insect. Yes. It exists. But it's existence in the context of your falsehood is irrelevant unless you can provide multiple examples of it stopping PG&E brush-clearing work.

Really?

You offer nothing of your claim about PG&E brush-clearing work being halted for said Elderberry beetle.

At least pretend a little - try and claim this is your evidence (it isn't): Web Link

Hearsay: ""Guys and Gals that work in the field that sometimes they have their hands tied..."

According to who?

Hearsay.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 31, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Multiple agency's told me, I just could not remember the name of the beetle...


Gotta go! Trick or Treaters are here!


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 31, 2019 at 8:03 pm

I just read your comment:

"Just like his hero, who lies, repeats the lies, lies again, spreads trash and moves on."

You know what they say about assumptions.

P.S. It is not a rumor, The Fire that started in Pescadero was caused by lead acid batteries that were being charged by solar panels at the old mushroom farm. This location is near Gazos Creek. Evidently, the battery pack exploded and ignited brush nearby, which in turn ignited dead pine trees.


Like this comment
Posted by Forest Raking Brigade
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 1, 2019 at 5:51 am

"Multiple agency's told me..."

The very definition of hearsay.

You have absolutely nothing. And you don't even see it.

Then you deflect to some other random fire story. This is too easy, like taking Andy from my baby. Keep posting your unsubstantiated drivel.

Good luck with this one, @anon.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 1, 2019 at 9:10 am

Web Link

The link above provides guidelines for when there is work to be done in beetle habitat.





Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2019 at 11:35 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens

>> Web Link

>> The link above provides guidelines for when there is work to be done in beetle habitat.

Interesting link. It provides instructions on what trimmers need to do with Elderberry. As it happens, I'm slightly acquainted with Sambucus Canadensis.

As it happens, from the document you conveniently provided, it seems that only mature shrub/trees are an issue. A right-of-way which is cleared every year can continue to do be cleared indefinitely. (There are also a lot of different mitigations available for an old, mature Elderberry patch, but, they would take some time to complete.)

"Elderberry plants with no stems measuring 1.0 inch or greater in diameter at ground level are unlikely to be habitat for the beetle because of their small size and/or immaturity. Therefore, no minimization measures are required for removal of elderberry plants with no stems measuring 1.0 inch or greater in diameter at ground level with no exit holes. Surveys are valid for a period of two years."

IOW, if PG&E had documentation and processes in place to keep ROWs properly cleared, then, there would be no issue.

Do you have links showing instances of PG&E being prevented from clearing ROWs because of this issue?


Like this comment
Posted by Glenn King
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2019 at 12:57 pm

Blaming environmentalists for PGE failures is ridiculous koolaid drinking by fringe whackos with no evidence to support their fantasies.

"... with PG&E because they wanted the companies be responsible for all trees falling into the lines."

Dumb.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 1, 2019 at 1:15 pm

"There are also a lot of different mitigations available for an old, mature Elderberry patch, but, they would take some time to complete."

This is just one example....



What is upsetting is we are probably going to get Four more years of Trump to to far left extreme viewpoints.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Posted by Resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens

>> This is just one example....

And, maybe, not even that, since it looks like the rule was withdrawn in 2014: Web Link

Do you have any other examples. I'm sure that PG&E must have to do various things, but, blaming environmental rules for their own failures to replace insulators on schedule and so on is disingenuous at best. Someone already mentioned this article: Web Link

Not just "criminal", but, as it turned out, actually -criminal-. Web Link

Anyway, if you have more examples of environmental restrictions that have actually prevented PG&E from maintaining its ROWs, I would be interested in seeing links.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 1, 2019 at 9:34 pm

Next time one of the line clearing crews are in the neighborhood, stop and ask them about the environmental regulations that are imposed. I did today, one of the crew chiefs from Utility Tree, was parked on Charleston and Sutherland. He described that if the Valley Longhorn Beetle is in a tree they are not allowed to cut it down. I asked about nesting birds, he said the same thing . He said his hands are tied.

If you do not believe me, call Dave that works for the city of Palo Alto for the line clearing division and ask him.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 1, 2019 at 9:46 pm

@ Glenn King

"Blaming environmentalists for PGE failures is ridiculous koolaid drinking by fringe whackos with no evidence to support their fantasies.

"... with PG&E because they wanted the companies be responsible for all trees falling into the lines."

Dumb."

Yes Dumb, all PG&E attorneys need to say in court is; "Hey, we tried to trim around the lines, but the environmentist would not let us."



You trolls can beat up on me all you want, I am just, conveying the honest truth, about the insane regulations that we have been exposed to in the field.

Over Educated under intelligent.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 1, 2019 at 10:04 pm

@ Monty Goforth


Posted by Monty Goforth
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2019 at 5:30 am
@Resident.
“P.S. word has it that the Pescadero fire started ...”

Don’t spread unsubstantiated rumors. It doesn’t help and if you’re wrong, you’ve caused a lot of confusion and misdirection. This is a serious issue and people are loosing their lives and homes and livelihoods.

Looks like my statement was correct about the faulty solar system that was set up by a bunch of dope smoking hippies posing as environmentalist. The guy I used to work for was there, and told me they were standing around scratching their private parts, not having a clue what to do. Not one fire extinguisher anywhere in the area to be found.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 3, 2019 at 9:11 am

@ Forest Raking Brigade , Anon, and "Monty Goforth."

I do not hear you chiming in with your far right progressive Rhetoric. That is because you got nothing. Just like the far left.

Due to far right progressive Rhetoric we are probably going to get another,four more years of that idiot Trump.....Thanks a lot.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2019 at 12:43 pm

As previously surmised, the Camp Fire was caused by PG&E negligence:

"Bankrupt utility giant PG&E Corp. for years failed to properly inspect and maintain its transmission system -- an oversight that led a live wire to fall and ignite the deadliest blaze in California history last year, state investigators said.

"A PG&E crew hadn't climbed and inspected the tower and hook that failed, sparking the catastrophic Camp fire, in 17 years, a California Public Utilities Commission investigation made public Monday shows."

"The identified shortcomings in PG&E's inspection and maintenance of the incident tower were not isolated, but rather indicative of an overall pattern of inadequate inspection and maintenance of PG&E's transmission facilities," the agency said in its findings.

"The November 2018 Camp fire killed 85 people, burned down tens of thousands of homes and all but destroyed the Northern California town of Paradise. It ultimately led to PG&E's undoing"

Web Link

Now, given that PG&E knew that its previous maintenance was drastically inadequate, I think it was very responsible of PG&E to shut down vulnerable lines this year.


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