Nevada County residents plan for future outages as power restored to most |

Nevada County residents plan for future outages as power restored to most

With power restored to more than 80% of Nevada County customers affected by PG&E’s latest Public Safety Power Shutoff and no further extreme fire danger weather predicted for next week, county residents are able to breathe a sigh of relief for now.

While power is back on for most for the foreseeable future, the series of power shutoffs has prompted residents to search out solutions in the short and long term. Across Nevada County businesses are creating Facebook pages to network ideas, residents are pushing for local power control and lobbying state officials to provide relief.

For staff at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, immediate and constant adaptation was required to continue serving county citizens.

According to county staff, the power shutoffs at first created a mass scramble and had some employees staying home. They’ve since settled into a sort of normalcy, quickly falling into roles and following processes that have been refined since the beginning of the month.

At the county’s Community Development Agency, director Sean Powers said the department has seen its best response yet with the latest shutoffs.

“We’re getting a sense of what we can use and what our generators can handle,” Powers said.

The department processes paperwork through scattered lantern light that flickers each time their one powered printer ejects a page.

Throughout the government building staff has had to relocate near open windows and to the few conference rooms that offer power for those able to work from a laptop. Several workers require desktops and special software, leading some staff in the Health and Human Services Agency to work out of neighboring counties.

The shutoffs have also brought some staff from different departments and offices together. During this shutoff, the county’s 211 information service has been working out of the Nevada City government building instead of its Grass Valley office in order to better coordinate information flow.

According to 211 Communications Assistant Brett Shady, the shutoffs have brought about some positive effects, like providing the county the opportunity to exercise an emergency-like event with minimal actual danger.

“It feels more important and more crucial,” Shady said of his role during the shutoffs. “We get to prove ourselves a little and show we can be trusted.”

According to Shady, during the first shutoff everyone was eager to jump in and take on every responsibility. They’re now used to implementing the structured plans they have in place for whenever the next shutoff is announced.

“It does feel like so much more streamlined, and management made it feel like a natural process to grow into our roles,” Shady said. “Just like being here, for example. If we went through this at our office, we wouldn’t be as in the loop.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, emaail or call 530-477-4229.

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