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Carol Bentley: Power outages are maddening

I am super frustrated with PG&E and their enhanced power safety setting. I am not against the setting, but am against the fact that it turns the power off to thousands at a time when it should be isolated to the area affected.

The enhanced power safety setting turns the power off within one-tenth of a second if anything touches the lines. So let’s say a bird hits it — boom power off.

This happened Saturday and then again Monday. When it occurred power went off to over 2,000 to 3,000 customers in Penn Valley and Rough and Ready and affects two main circuits. Why it has to be so widespread is beyond me.

The more frustrating issue is they send a text and tell you the power will be on within a certain time. On Saturday, when the power went off at 12:45 p.m., they said it would be back on at 3:45 p.m., so that is livable and I accepted it. When 3:45 p.m. passed, the next minute they sent a message saying it would be on at 7:15 p.m. That passed and then they said 9:05 p.m. and that passed and then it moved to 10 a.m. the next day. That passed and then it was noon.Power was finally restored at 11:30 a.m.

Monday, pretty much the same thing. Power went off at 1:49 p.m. and first message said back on at 5:15 p.m. but of course ir did not come back on then and next message was 9:05 p.m. Power was restored at 7:21 p.m.

If they would be truthful in the first place, how long this would take it would at least let me figure out if I need to turn my generator on and go through the effort to move my heavy refrigerator to access the cord to connect to the generator.

When this happens I have nothing — my entire house is electric (no propane) and I am on a well so no water. At least with the pre-planned ones you can prepare water and stuff. I basically am unable to do anything and feel I have lost time and all plans are disrupted.

What really bothers me is the fact that before they can restore power, they have to fly over the entire area with helicopters, which I have timed, and it takes six hours to do so. If a bird hits a line in one particular spot and turns the power off in one place on a non-windy day, why in the world can’t they just fix it and turn the power on immediately. It is a waste of time and gas to fly helicopters over, and why this rule is in place is very questionable.

I can see it after a pre-planned event when the wind has blown for hours or days, but for isolated incidents it seems like overkill and very cruel to those of us dependent on power to live and exist for water, for refrigeration and to even turn a fan on.

If I were not on a fixed income, I would get a whole house generator, but it seems out of reach right now. The more they do things like this, the more I consider moving, which would also be difficult because I live in my childhood home, but on the other hand the quality of life around here is really going downhill with these outages and cost of living.

Carol Bentley lives in Rough and Ready


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