Power Shuts Down in Northern California

 

I’m writing this early Wednesday morning, trying to post while I still can. The good news is that BART and the freeways going through tunnels will still be operable, and all of San Francisco will remain powered up. But parts of all of the surrounding areas will be affected.

The TV news is fun. They’re warning viewers that home alarm systems won’t be working, so report suspicious activity with your remaining charge on your phone … but the cell towers won’t be working either. The radio has been full of public service announcements.

Our governor feels our pain. He says we should be outraged. At something not specified. I’m outraged at him. He was Lt. Governor for the last eight years and in local government for 20. PG&E is a creature of government with its freedom of action controlled and constrained by government. He is and has been the face of government and this happened on his watch.

Although California has the most expensive electricity in the US, it is delivered with third-world safety and reliability.

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There are 69 comments.

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  1. tigerlily Member

    This idiocy reminds me of the joke – What did socialists use for light before candles? Electricity.

    • #1
    • October 9, 2019, at 5:37 AM PDT
    • 28 likes
  2. Jon1979 Lincoln

    The state’s been acting for the past 40 years like the electricity fairies magically bring the power to people’s homes, with no investments required/allowed in upgrading power delivery lines or in acquiring new electric generation sources. But don’t expect the governor or any of the other pols in Sacramento to take the blame for this.

    Retail Lawyer: So I’ll post this while I still can. The good news is that BART and the freeways going through tunnels will still be operable, and all of San Francisco will remain powered up. But parts of all of the surrounding areas will be affected.

    Today’s cutoff is mainly fire/wind related, but is a good foreshadowing of the priority levels of power supply, were the Golden State (or the entire country) to actually go in on some type of Green New Deal/fossil fuel and nuclear power-ban style energy policy. What power that was available would be allocated to the really important people and things in the core urban areas like San Francisco, while those in the outlying zones, and especially in the rural regions, would be told pretty much it sucks to be you by the local utilities and the politicians, as long as they had faith the people losing power couldn’t vote them out of office in the near future.

    • #2
    • October 9, 2019, at 5:41 AM PDT
    • 22 likes
  3. Jimmy Carter Member

    tigerlily (View Comment):

    This idiocy reminds me of the joke – What did socialists use for light before candles? Electricity.

    Capitalism

    • #3
    • October 9, 2019, at 5:49 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Jimmy Carter Member

    This is another example that’s just begging to be used in a Republican campaign exposing the results of democrat policies.

    “California: Third World Living At First World Prices” 

    • #4
    • October 9, 2019, at 5:55 AM PDT
    • 23 likes
  5. JoelB Member

    Is this just a sneaky way to get Californians to buy solar power systems? Not that I think the PTB would be in collusion or anything.

    • #5
    • October 9, 2019, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Seawriter Member

    Retail Lawyer:

    So although California has the most expensive electricity in the USA, it is delivered with Third-World safety and reliability.

    Just think of it as accessorizing California’s Third-World disease problem, sanitation problem, and housing problem.

    Isn’t amazing how the most woke state in the Union has these problems? Unexpectedly!

    • #6
    • October 9, 2019, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  7. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Retail Lawyer:

    So although California has the most expensive electricity in the USA, it is delivered with Third-World safety and reliability.

    Just think of it as accessorizing California’s Third-World disease problem, sanitation problem, and housing problem.

    Isn’t amazing how the most woke state in the Union has these problems? Unexpectedly!

    New York State has its woke idiot virtue-signaling governor, but his big thing for the moment is natural gas, not electric lines (and the residents in New York seem to be rebelling faster over Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to pander to his super-woke environmentalist big donors in Manhattan than the folks out in California are rebelling against their power line and power plant-adverse pols).

    • #7
    • October 9, 2019, at 6:13 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Wouldn’t it be great if there were an economical way of getting some of the excess water in the Missouri River system to California? The Midwest is still suffering from last year’s flooding, and levee repairs cannot take place with the river still at flood stage.

    • #8
    • October 9, 2019, at 6:14 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. JoelB Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Wouldn’t it be great if there were an economical way of getting some of the excess water in the Missouri River system to California? 

    The most expensive part would be the Environmental Impact Statement.

    • #9
    • October 9, 2019, at 6:24 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  10. DrewInWisconsin, Thought Leader Member

    This is a golden opportunity for Republicans to gain seats in this state.

    I’m sure they’re ill-prepared to use it to their advantage.

    • #10
    • October 9, 2019, at 6:59 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    I hope @peterrobinson has a generator so he can continue to cohost the Ricochet Podcast . . .

    • #11
    • October 9, 2019, at 7:13 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  12. RPD Member
    RPD

    Should there be a run on generators, are they emission controlled? Is California raising its own carbon and pollutant footprint with this?

    • #12
    • October 9, 2019, at 8:19 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Mendel Member

    I’ll admit that if I were in PG&E’s shoes I’d probably be doing the same thing.

    After all, it is being held financially liable for damages caused by wildfires allegedly sparked by its infrastructure, despite the fact that the root causes of those wildfires are myriad.

    So think about it: if you were a monopoly and customers had no other place to turn for their power, you have nothing to lose by shutting it off every now and then but potentially billions to lose if you leave it on at just the wrong moment.

    • #13
    • October 9, 2019, at 8:41 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  14. Mendel Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Thought Leader (View Comment):

    This is a golden opportunity for Republicans to gain seats in this state.

    I’m sure they’re ill-prepared to use it to their advantage.

    One big problem is the fact that PG&E is supposedly a private company.

    In reality it it’s so constrained by law and regulatory authorities that it’s really an arm of the state in all but name, but its legal status as a private entity means most Californians (even Republican voters) think of it as a corporation, and thus it just adds more fuel to the “corporations are evil” fire. 

    It’s really just more proof that public/private hybrids or semi-privatization of previously public services often combines the worst of both worlds and tarnishes the reputation of actual free commerce. In the case of PG&E, I’d probably be in favor of the state retaking it and running it as an arm of the government, since at least then the responsibilities (and blames) would be more transparent.

    • #14
    • October 9, 2019, at 8:46 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. Richard Fulmer Member

    Government regulatory cycle:

    1. Intervene in the marketplace
    2.  Bad things happen
    3.  Blame the free market
    4.  Return to Step 1
    • #15
    • October 9, 2019, at 9:07 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  16. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    A few rhetorical questions that come to mind:

    • What are the costs of dealing with wildfires? (i.e. firefighting costs, insurance costs, etc.)
    • What are the costs of shutting down the power grid to prevent wildfires? (i.e. lost productivity, etc.)
    • What if they shut down the power grid and wildfires still happen?
    • If they shut down the power grid and wildfires don’t happen, how does one prove that shutting down the power grid was the crucial factor? How can one know that it’s not just the equivalent of the Tiger-Repelling Rock?
    • #16
    • October 9, 2019, at 9:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. namlliT noD Member

    The SF Chronicle has a real-time Power Outage Map available:

    https://projects.sfchronicle.com/trackers/power-outages/

    Obviously PG&E is being overly cautious. We’ve got some high winds in some areas right now, and the last time a high voltage power line snapped it caused an enormous fire.

    • #17
    • October 9, 2019, at 9:40 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. MisterSirius Member

    Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):

    A few rhetorical questions that come to mind:

    • What are the costs of dealing with wildfires? (i.e. firefighting costs, insurance costs, etc.)
    • What are the costs of shutting down the power grid to prevent wildfires? (i.e. lost productivity, etc.)
    • What if they shut down the power grid and wildfires still happen?
    • If they shut down the power grid and wildfires don’t happen, how does one prove that shutting down the power grid was the crucial factor? How can one know that it’s not just the equivalent of the Tiger-Repelling Rock?

    The primary thing for PG&E, I believe, is that PG&E not be responsible for any wildfire.

    Take the horrible Oakland Hills Fire as a perfect example. We know all about how it started. In short it seems like it was an accident after a controlled burn to prevent such fires. While this reading makes it seem like one cannot even take steps to prevent a wildfire without causing a wildfire, the important point for PG&E must be that PG&E is not responsible for that one.

    • #18
    • October 9, 2019, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Fritz Member

    California’s rush to become Venezuela continues its rapid pace.

    • #19
    • October 9, 2019, at 10:23 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Miffed White Male Member

    While I feel sorry for (some) of the people involved, I gotta say, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving place.

     

    • #20
    • October 9, 2019, at 11:38 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. cirby Member

    It’s nice to know that the people running Capitol City will still have plenty of power, and as long as the Districts keep sending in food and the occasional Tribute they can keep having the Hunger Games on a regular basis.

    • #21
    • October 9, 2019, at 12:56 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  22. Mark Wilson Member

    My city is surrounded by the affected area but has its own power grid. Thank God.

    • #22
    • October 9, 2019, at 12:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Mark Wilson Member

    RPD (View Comment):

    Should there be a run on generators, are they emission controlled? Is California raising its own carbon and pollutant footprint with this?

    Per the California Air Resources Board, generators are required to be electric-drive only.

    Kidding.

    • #23
    • October 9, 2019, at 12:59 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. Seawriter Member

    Mark Wilson (View Comment):

    Per the California Air Resources Board, generators are required to be electric-drive only.

    Kidding.

    They cannot use natural gas in Berkeley – at least not new ones.

    • #24
    • October 9, 2019, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. CuriousKevmo Member

    Mendel (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Thought Leader (View Comment):

    This is a golden opportunity for Republicans to gain seats in this state.

    I’m sure they’re ill-prepared to use it to their advantage.

    One big problem is the fact that PG&E is supposedly a private company.

    In reality it it’s so constrained by law and regulatory authorities that it’s really an arm of the state in all but name, but its legal status as a private entity means most Californians (even Republican voters) think of it as a corporation, and thus it just adds more fuel to the “corporations are evil” fire.

    It’s really just more proof that public/private hybrids or semi-privatization of previously public services often combines the worst of both worlds and tarnishes the reputation of actual free commerce. In the case of PG&E, I’d probably be in favor of the state retaking it and running it as an arm of the government, since at least then the responsibilities (and blames) would be more transparent.

    Yup, pretty much covers it.

    Most of my colleagues are blaming PG&E or consider it “the right thing to do”. Of course, most of the latter still have power.

    • #25
    • October 9, 2019, at 1:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Mark Wilson Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    While I feel sorry for (some) of the people involved, I gotta say, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving place.

     

    This sentiment really grates on me. There are a relative handful of people responsible for this mess. How do 10 million people deserve this? People who moved here recently for jobs, children who were born here, people who have lived here and voted right yet seen their state go the wrong direction?

    • #26
    • October 9, 2019, at 1:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. CuriousKevmo Member

    Mark Wilson (View Comment):
    people who have lived here and voted right yet seen their state go the wrong direction?

    Count me among these. My wife an I moved to a very rural area a couple years ago and while our neighbors are much more conservative than in the Bay Area we fled, we still have to pay for our state’s dysfunction.

     

    • #27
    • October 9, 2019, at 1:20 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Miffed White Male Member

    Mark Wilson (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    While I feel sorry for (some) of the people involved, I gotta say, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving place.

     

    This sentiment really grates on me. There are a relative handful of people responsible for this mess. How do 10 million people deserve this? People who moved here recently for jobs, children who were born here, people who have lived here and voted right yet seen their state go the wrong direction?

    It ain’t a “relative handful” that have ruined California. It’s an enthusiastic majority that keeps putting the clowns in charge.

     

     

    • #28
    • October 9, 2019, at 1:22 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Zed11 Lincoln

    White guy? Check.
    1%-er? Check.
    (Local) family royalty? Check.
    Telling everyone how to live (“whether you like it or not”)? Check.

    Never liked him, never voted for him, and am literally paying for his existence. I’m done.

    https://ranaf.org/

    I speak for the poor, the common man.
    • #29
    • October 9, 2019, at 1:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Roderic Fabian Coolidge

    Every time I think of chortling over California’s antics they manage to pull their chestnuts out of the fire in time after all, so I won’t count them out.

    • #30
    • October 9, 2019, at 1:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like
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