Businesses incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses from PG&E power shutoffs |

Businesses incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses from PG&E power shutoffs

Wednesday is comic book day at Grass Valley Games.

That’s when, according to owner Zak Lewis, new comic books are sent to his store. That often drives customers.

However, that didn’t happen this week.

“I knew it was going to be a dead day,” he said, referring to the low turnout as many businesses expected to be without power due to PG&E shutoffs. Although the shutoffs never came to Nevada County, Lewis still faced low customer turnout.

Lewis said he bought a $600 generator Tuesday night in anticipation of the shutoff.

It’s his hope that — to end future power shutoffs or possible shutoffs — state government buys PG&E, subsidizes business losses and allows local government control over their power grids.

Robin Buckman, owner of Grass Valley’s Old Town Cafe, agreed with providing local government more control. He wants Nevada County to adopt an energy system similar to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

Small businesses, he said, will continue to be hurt — possibly closing — if shutoffs continue.

“They can’t afford to stay open,” said Buckman, referring specifically to Nevada City businesses that had no power during the second round of shutoffs last month, unlike some Grass Valley businesses.

Moms & Minis manager Jaime Thibodeau said customer traffic has slowed due to the shutoffs. She said kids are also particularly hurting as they are losing instructional time.

“They have to make it up at some point,” said Thibodeau.


A report initiated by the Grass Valley Downtown Association in collaboration with the Grass Valley, Nevada City and Penn Valley Chambers of Commerce has tried to accumulate data on the financial losses netted by businesses due to the power shutoffs.

52 people from Nevada City responded and 32 from Grass Valley.

In general, losses varied from about $10,000 to over $100,000, according to Grass Valley Downtown Association Executive Director Marni Marshall. The numbers, said Marshall, were based on food thrown away, income and revenue lost, and payments made to employees despite them not being able to work.

The report was conducted by surveying business owners throughout Nevada County.

“They’ve never dealt with anything like this in their 60 years of business,” said Marshall.

When it’s finished, Marshall said she hopes to convey the information collected from the report to local and state officials.

Total financial losses that hit businesses in Nevada County are unknown, said Marshall. However, Marshall said roughly “a collective $657,000” was lost from Grass Valley and Nevada City businesses.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email or call 530-477-4219.

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