Saturday, 13 April 2024

Honeywell: PSPS was dangerous and misjudged

Last week’s Pacific Gas and Electric public safety power shutoff was, I believe, dangerous and misjudged.

I am writing to you because rather than being about public safety, the real effect is that it is more of a risk to public safety to turn the power off.

There was no wind from the time power went out to the time it came back on! And ... we still had another fire.

The day before power was shut off we experienced some of the worst winds in a while here in Clearlake Riviera and yet nothing from PG&E — power remained on.

Then … an announcement of a PSPS with three days with no power.

No power for many means:

(1) Little to no communication/internet in most cases or an overloaded cellular network (especially once the Cache fire occurred).

(2) Hundred or thousands of generators running creating a very real fire risk (and let’s hope the Cache fire is not related to this).

(3) Many being stuck with 90 degree heat or other unsafe scenarios like not being able to prepare or refrigerate food.

(4) All of the above is then compounded if there is then an actual fire like today and more so if you have to evacuate.

You could see on what PG&E thought was going to happen. You could see Clearlake and Napa in calm blue, blocked from the north east system, then staying calm blue with last night's westerly winds.

What they thought could happen, which is why they moved it to Thursday, is that the two will meet and be turbulent instead of canceling each other over us. However, it is all a statistical model. Windy shows the more likely model only.

I cannot see how this is anyway a balanced, common sense decision about public safety. It is time for PG&E management to dig deeper and approach this with more common sense. We have the technology and can do this smart without impacting everyone’s lives this way.

Daniel Honeywell lives in Lake County, California.

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