Extreme winds and dry conditions were all over California. With the risk of wildfires high, planned blackouts were executed by Pacific Gas & Electric. This is the company whose power lines were blamed for the disastrous wildfires that have occurred recently.
This time they took preventative measures. Before last weekend PC&G informed state officials they could possibly shut off power to a large portion of Northern California, which would leave millions in the dark.
On Monday the news was made public that this was going to happen. By Tuesday morning there were around 100 utility executives, state officials and meteorologists working together in San Francisco to coordinator the effort.
Things did not go as planned. Their website crashed and customers were unable to find out whether or not their power would be cut. Roads and businesses went dark with no prior warning. Critical services such as nursing homes were without prior. And good luck getting customer support as everyone was on hold for hours.
More on the story from MSN:
All told, more than 700,000 homes or businesses — from the state’s northernmost reaches to the outskirts of Silicon Valley — lost electricity beginning early Wednesday morning, and the state’s emergency center usually used for natural disasters was activated. Most residents had power restored by noon on Friday, and just over 12,000 were still without it on Saturday morning.
“There were definitely missteps,” said Elizaveta Malashenko, a representative for the state Public Utilities Commission who was in the control center. “It’s pretty much safe in saying, this did not go well.”
While California prides itself on its technical prowess and economic might, PG&E had to send crews out into the fields, in a few cases, to manually flip switches to turn off power and then turn it back on, rather than doing it remotely.
Residents were left asking why so many people had to lose power and whether rolling blackouts would become routine as climate change makes wildfires more frequent and intense.
PG&E is already facing intense scrutiny and this certainly won’t help.
“This current operation is unacceptable,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Thursday. “The current conditions and circumstances are unacceptable.”
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Did anyone really think planned blackouts were going to go on seamlessly?