Due to one of the deadliest wildfires to strike California in its history, power companies are proactively shutting down power and their services to protect the safety of the community, and prevent downed power lines from making the wildfire situation worse. Residents are forced to use their back-up generators. And those without a back-up generator, are scrambling to purchase or rent one to power their homes and businesses. In light of the announcements from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), and other utility companies, a shortage of home and business back-up generators is inevitable.
Number of California Wildfires by Cause
Intense high winds in the mountains of Sacramento are predicted to continue. They are expected to exceed 55mph, which is strong enough to blow down already brittle trees and posts. Downed active power lines could add new wildfires into the deadly mix that already killed dozens of people. In previous years, a number of the wildfires have been attributed to downed power lines. This has caused PG&E to post notices in high risk wildfire areas to let residents know that power will be cut.
“We will only shut off the power as a last resort. When weather conditions are so dangerous that flying branches, palm fronds, and other vegetation pose a threat to power lines and the safety of the community,” said Paul Grigaux, PG&E Incident Commander.
Pat Hogan, a PG&E Spokesman, also said “We know how much our customers rely on electric service, and we have made the decision to turn off power as a last resort. Only if the extreme fire danger conditions these communities are experiencing worsen.”
However, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, is pointing to faulty PG&E equipment as the cause of other wildfires in Northern California from last October.
Faulty or downed power lines is still on the table as the cause of the latest deadly wildfire first reported East of Paradise, Sierra Nevada last week. PG&E is expecting a loss of billions due to liability damages.
Many residents also complain about the lack of notice of the outages. Their best option is to make sure they have a back-up standby generator to provide them with electricity to power their homes and power their business.
Important things to note on the use of home generators:
- Follow manufacturers’ instructions
- Have a qualified generator technician install your generator for you
Notes on purchasing or renting home generators:
- Determine your exact power needs
- Consult with an electrician for installation and a service contractor for maintenance