If you don't do your job...do you get to turn the power off?


Hornet’s nest +baseball bat= :thinking:!?

What are the thoughts out there? Is this the solution to reduce fire potential?
KCRA Sacramento: PG&E may shut off power in 12 counties due to fire dangers. Or is it an entity absolving themselves of responsibility, liability, and an admission of guilt, or just pure corporate protection of the almighty Dollar!?$$ Last option, personal opinion is out of line?

Abstract thoughts: if there is a new start of any “cause” ,with no power, not all will receive reverse 911, those supplied by Wells for water can do nothing for private suppression…etc etc.
(Reality: in Shasta County the temp increased 10*. In the last 3 hrs,70-80 dependent upon elevation, rh has dropped by 12% to 22% in the last hour, 2330 hrs)

Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced Saturday night it may turn off power in parts of 12 counties within the next 24 hours due to expected extreme fire danger conditions.”


If the poco is going to be held strictly liable for any and all damages that occur off any ignition no matter the weather conditions and the lack of land management (continuous fuel bed) leading away from their facilities, then they are going to have to do whatever it takes to not be a source of any ignition.

I agree about the lack of phone and water service.

In the old days the phone company supplied all power necessary from their end.

Water will mean generators I am afraid. (Full disclosure: I am in the generator business now.)


@Kman Opinions are always valued! My direct answers to your questions:

  • It is my personal opinion that this approach, while a powerful last-resort, is one more attempt in reducing fire potential during times of highest risk. Untested at this scale, yet options to fit the need seem extremely limited. What other alternatives have been suggested, tested, and applied? What are the cascading effects from those alternatives?

  • Power shutdowns were never considered an end-all-be-all “solution” since they were first thought up, instead they are simply the newest component in the myriad of fire prevention measures we have available “in the toolbox”. Disrupting normal life with a wide-scale power shutdown has lasting impacts beyond the actual time with no electricity, these are the uncertain consequences that keeps everyone on edge.

  • The most frustrating part about these media campaigns is the entire lack of perspective. Dressing it up to look like a liability or a profit-driven issue… LOL. Did they forget about public safety as a whole? Or protecting critical infrastructure so responders can continue doing their job?? They must have missed the part about CPUC regulations requiring utilities to serve proactive due diligence under extreme conditions…

  • Folks impacted by such a power cut-off have had nearly a year’s advance notice that such measures would be on the table. Also, it is my understanding that PG&E, SMUD and SCE have been working with medical baseliners, hospitals/clinics, and other critical-needs entities for quite some time to ensure they have adequate services during and after an electrical cut-off . Should liability be placed on the utility to ensure 100% of its clients, particularly those living on the grid in the remote wilds, have appropriate emergency plans in place AND follow through with them?

Just my view from the ridgetop…


SCE made presentations on their reasoning and process to two unified command sessions in two counties and after attending both, I was satisfied they were doing the right thing. Their plan is well thought out and comprehensive, and is costing them a lot of money to implement. Is it self serving? Certainly. As a corporation with a lot of exposure, they would be remiss if they didn’t do anything to protect themselves. Their intention is to give at least 24 hrs notice to the general public prior to a PROPOSED shutdown, and then actually implementing a shutdown when resources on the ground in the area of the proposed shutdown say that implementation is necessary. If SCE can prevent a large scale fire in the middle of a Red Flag by killing power to overhead services, then by all means do it. Will there be a negative impact on the customer base? Of course, but after having seen large scale fires start because of sparks from overhead lines,and having to contend with the resultant fire suppression in the middle of a Red Flag wind event, and loosing power to my community due to the power lines being burned down( not all in the same event), the old adage of an ounce of prevention etc. etc. is well worth the inconvenience. When it comes to the “media”, caveat emptor.



I spoke to SCE about this topic: they described it as always having been a tool in their kit, with decisions being driven by weather, risks within certain zones, condition of infrastructure, etc. He mentioned the need to shut down lines that were threatened by fire, describing this new action as an extension of actions they routinely take to promote fire fighter safety.

Note link above, there are maps to describe the fire threat zones. He told me they had not yet defined their triggers for a shut down: combination of weather, fuel conditions, and infrastructure condition.


Interesting twist given the Camp inci…

PG&E Determines to Not Proceed With Public Safety Power Shutoff Planned for Portions of Eight Northern California Counties
5:34pm ET, 11/08/2018 - Business Wire

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 8, 2018-- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has determined that it will not proceed with plans today for a Public Safety Power Shutoff in portions of eight Northern California counties, as weather conditions did not warrant this safety measure.

On Tuesday, PG&E began notifying approximately 70,000 customers in portions of Northern California of the potential that the company would turn off power for safety given forecasts of extreme fire danger conditions. PG&E will now notify customers directly via automated calls, texts and emails that the potential Public Safety Power Shutoff has been canceled.

“We want to thank our customers for their understanding and for their actions in preparation of a possible Public Safety Power Shutoff. We know how much our customers rely on electric service, and we will only consider temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety and as a last resort during extreme weather conditions to reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Pat Hogan, PG&E senior vice president of Electric Operations.

PG&E continues to remind customers who live in high-fire-danger areas to have a plan. Customers can learn whether their home or business is in or near a high fire-threat area by reviewing the California Public Utilities Commission’s High Fire-Threat District map. They can also visit www.pge.com/wildfiresafety to determine whether their home or business is served by an electric line that may be turned off for safety.

To learn more about PG&E’s work to reduce the risk of wildfires, visit www.pge.com/wildfiresafety.