Friday, 31 March 2023

Williams: Seniors isolated in PG&E power shutoff

I would like to speak to a concern regarding the Pacific Gas & Electric power shutoff.

As a senior I spoke to other seniors who struggled with the power outage. The real struggle was not having any way to communicate with the outside world. In many cases people did not have cell phone or landline use. Seniors were isolated and what if they needed help? I was alone and guarded my cell phone use as I was afraid I would lose battery power.

How could people access the PG&E website if they had no Internet or cell phone connection?
If PG&E had been maintaining the power lines all along fires could have been prevented. We just did not all of a sudden have issues with fire danger this has been an ongoing issue in California yes and made worse by climate change.

But let's get back to the people left on their own during the outage "event." Turning off the power in the dead of night was a mistake. I think given the light of day, people would have been better able to cope with a difficult situation.

When I did talk to PG&E after our area got an all clear they said the lines were being looked at before the power could be turned back on. I said but it is getting dark and the agent said we work in the dark which contradicts what was said by a PG&E spokesperson last night on the news when they said PG&E can only check the lines during the day.

Why did PG&E not tell us there might be difficulties getting our land line back? AT&T was impacted and even though I had power it was almost a whole day later before I had my land line cut on and the internet. Now I am struggling with my ADT service because it may take a week before my system can communicate with my phone. Meanwhile every half hour my phone rings and my system beeps. AADT said it may take a week to correct the system.

I think more attention needed to be taken by PG&E in terms of people not having access to updates and their communication devices especially seniors.

Sue Williams lives in Kelseyville, Calif.

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