Rest Of Calif Wakes Up To PSPS Blackout Dangers

Written by on January 11, 2019

It took a half year for this to happen … but official opposition is growing against allowing power companies to turn off electricity when it gets windy.

The California Public Utilities Commission yesterday held a public hearing on Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

We’re talking about PSPS … the preemptive blackouts that the CPUC suddenly imposed on California last summer without advance notice.

And they got an earful from local governments up and down the state.

Heart attack victims will have to wait longer for an ambulance if a power shut-off knocks out traffic signals.

Schools may end up having to send kids home and gas stations may close.

And if a fire does start … emergency managers may be left without a way to warn residents in time.

The Ventura County Star reports that officials warned they don’t have the capacity to keep backup generators going for a day or longer and at every spot where a power shut-off could occur.

Yesterday … El Dorado County complained that the emergency blackouts were suddenly imposed without the promised advance notice.

Ventura County complained it took way too long to get the power back on.

And Orange County noted that the preemptive blackouts will save the power companies millions and millions … but will cost local government a huge amount for generators … emergency response … and other costs.

But the power companies were allowed by the CPUC to escape paying for generators.

Lieutenant Jim Byers of El Dorado County said … and we quote  …. “We only have a few traffic signals, but they control the main highway,” he said. When the power went out, the backup system to those signals died within a couple hours and “basically gridlocked our county.”

If that sounds familiar … those are the arguments made by Zuma Beach FM Broadcasting last summer when the PSPS program was suddenly unleashed on the state by the CPUC.

Zuma Beach FM filed a formal petition for a do-over.

And the CPUC last December agreed.

This story is based on reporting by the Ventura County Star and KBUU Radio. 

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