PG&E Plans to Cut Electricity to Some California Residents to Prevent Wildfires

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

In a move straight out of the Soviet Union handbook, PG&E has warned they may cut electrical power to some California residents during “extreme weather” to help prevent wildfires.

This comes after some poorly maintained Pacific Gas and Electric power lines and equipment have been determined to have started last year’s deadly wildfires in the Napa Valley wine country area.

Cal Fire investigators said Friday that equipment owned and operated by PG&E ignited 12 wildfires that raged in hot, dry weather and high winds across Northern California in October, charring hundreds of square miles in Sonoma County and beyond, destroying thousands of structures and killing 18 people. (source)

According to Cal Fire, 8 of the 12 fires occurred due to lack of maintenance in violation of state regulations.

The utility was in violation of state code on eight of those fires, failing to clear brush around its lines and properly maintain its power equipment, according to state fire investigators.

Cal Fire found violations in the Norrbom, Partrick, Pythian, Adobe and Pocket fires that burned in Sonoma and Napa counties; the Atlas fire in Napa County; the Sulphur fire in Lake County; and the Blue fire in Humboldt County. (source)

Doesn’t it sound like a good idea for PG&E to improve the maintenance of their equipment and lines? But instead, they have a different response.

PG&E’s response to the deadly Napa Valley Fires

Instead of improving their maintenance, PG&E has made the arbitrary decision to cut electricity to areas they have identified as risky, leaving residents to fend for themselves without power during the most brutally hot days of the year. Here’s a map of the areas that PG&E considers to be “high risk.”

photo credit

If this sounds familiar, perhaps you are thinking back to the 1990s, when the Soviet Union was ruled by the Communist Party and dealt with power shortages by rationing or cutting electricity to the coldest parts of the nation, leaving some Siberian hospitals and schools completely without heat.

CBS Sacramento reports:

“The goal is to reduce the risk of wildfires,” said PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Merlo, who acknowledges the utility only wants to cut power as a last resort for public safety.

PG&E points to climate change, saying extreme weather is the new norm in California. The utility says it has a wildfire safety operations center staffed 24-7 evaluating temperatures, wind, humidity, dry brush and real-time observations from crews in the field. While PG&E would not share the exact criteria it’s using, it says it plans to give customers anywhere from one to 48 hours’ notice through phone calls, texts or email addresses customers provide.

PG&E says this will also affect some people living outside “extreme fire threat” districts in “elevated” threat areas also noted on the state map if they live on the same circuit. The utility says it’s already mailed letters to anyone who may be impacted, but you can also look up your address on its site where you can also update your contact information. (source)

One to 48 hours seems like quite a wide range of warning times, doesn’t it?

PG&E doesn’t care about residents’ freezers and cellphones, either.

Instead of taking responsibility themselves, the utility company intends to inconvenience paying customers. They suggest that customers in the affected areas “have a plan” for dealing with the brutally hot conditions without power.

If you are in one of these threat zones, PG&E says you should already have a plan in case it cuts your power during extreme fire weather.

“Some of those things could include backup generation. They should be looking in advance of that notice,” Merlo said. “They could also look at staying with family or friends.” (source)

(For some more practical advice on surviving a hot weather blackout, check out this article.)

CBS Sacramento spoke with PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Merlo, asking questions for concerned residents.

Kurtis: When you lose power, a lot of these people are going to lose their ability to communicate. Isn’t that raising a whole new issue?

Merlo: We understand the difficulties that come with shutting the power off. It will only be as a last resort, and in the interest of public safety when extreme weather conditions occur.

Kurtis: Is this the lesser of two evils?

Merlo: We’re really working to reduce the risk of wildfires and this is one of the ways we’re trying to do it.”

Kurtis: PG&E understands this raises a whole new list of risks?

Merlo: Yes. (source)

The media outlet also asked whether PG&E would be reimbursing affected residents for their additional expenses during these outages.

Considering PG&E’s plan to cut power is to keep its own equipment from sparking fires, we asked the utility if it plans to reimburse people for losses, like lost groceries, a hotel stay or the cost of fuel. The company responded by email with this statement.

We will not be reimbursing customers for losses as we are shutting off power for safety due to extreme fire danger conditions. It’s important for all customers living or working in a high fire-threat area to have an emergency plan to be prepared for any extended outages due to extreme weather.  (source)

PG&E suggested that customers ensure their ability to communicate by having a landline.

If you are a resident of one of the areas PG&E has deemed “risky,” it’s clear that you’ll be completely on your own during any heatwaves.

Hat tip to Elizabeth

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • there is another issue here–that of our antique electric grid. to maintain lines and other infrastructure as they should be, rates would be raised. the western grid is vulnerable to terrorist attacks. hardening the grid would necessitate…raising the rates. we also have quite a bit of one-of-a- kind equipment, much of which is made overseas–with a wait time of months for delivery. parts, such as transformers, could be interchangeable with spares on hand. but that would be a huge revamp and would…raise the rates.
    in general, utilities are regulated because they are monopolies and necessary to modern life. they are often guaranteed a certain % profit but must apply to govt for any rate increase. this doesn’t work as well as it should, in part because with the grid interconnections , a large company can refuse to pay rates that reflect proper maintenance and get their power from a company that ignores maintenance and goes for profit in the short term. rather like buying a car and then running it with no maintenance until it dies prematurely by the side of the road.
    what to do? don’t depend on the gov’t to fix the problem. don’t depend on the power company either. depend as little as possible on the grid. add solar electric while there are still tax credits and add battery backup. there are modest setups that are portable and there are decent generators under $500 for some renters. as is common, if you have money you will be in better shape than if you don’t.

  • All I can do is say prayers that the people of CA don’t have to do without power in the sweltering heat.

  • Whoa down there little missy. Your having lived in NoCal bias is showing, because San Diego Gouge & Extortion, sorry, Gas & Electric, has the same policy. PG&E just got into more trouble than SDG&E. But more service area so it’s expected. ???? Hmmm? So us Commiefornia, sorry, California residents have for decades been paying to burry transmission lines, and go to steel poles replacing wooden ones. And where have these monies gone? To both power companies, part of the issue is property rights. They can legally, heck, State Law requires, cut vegetation on my property that encroaches on their lines and poles. But only so much, too little they violate state law, too much they violate my property rights. And to that, OK, so guess how much this tree will sway in 50mph winds towards the power lines. Now guess at 60mph etc. Further, I have an SDG&E transformer on a pole on my property. They legally maintain, to bare mineral soil, 10’ clearance. Well …. I’m sitting here in 25mph ENE winds right now and any spark coming off that transformer, that’s maybe 30’ high, will clear that 10’ before finding earth/ vegetation. (Yes I maintain more clearance around it). So how much clearance should they have? And what was it, the highest voltage lines are on top, the lowest (cable and telephone) on the bottom; so a low voltage lines delaminates, allowing a strand of wire to hang free, winds whip it up into power lines, sparks fly, fire starts, cable company is small but power company has deep pockets so the power company got sued? I think that’s what happened. I’m old you know. And PG&E’s PIO says to get generators?! Whaaaaaat? I’ve long heard power companies are against that for the simple fact, civilians will not connect/ isolate the generator properly and send power into the grid killing Power Co. employees. “Sorry about your husband Ma’am, truly I am but I didn’t want to lose the contents of my freezer.” And maintain a copper land line?! Uh, I was told the telephone co. does not maintain their lines, they wait until there’s an issue, then repair it, as maintenance is not cost affective. And
    my in laws moved back to the city in a trailer court and PAC Bell would not sell them a land line. PAC Bell doesn’t want land lines. So what was that, copper land line that doesn’t require an outside power source?
    Anyway, greedy Power Companies soaking the rate payers, and not upkeeping their equipment. I don’t see what the problem is as long as they comply with CEQA ( California Environmental Quality Act), don’t limb during breeding season, don’t trespass, don’t cut more than allowed, I mean what could be simpler?

    • It’s the DEW Directional Eenergy Weapons in play here….has NOTHING to do withe the Power Lines they complain about. They play their games at night with these weapons when everyone is asleep. Has nothing to do with storms, wind, etc. It’s ALL MAN MADE INDCED to get people to move out of the area….see Agenda 21….

  • You can buy a small solar panel on Amazon for $20-$30 designed to recharge your cell phone. If you live in one of the “high risk” areas, order one delivered overnight, right now. If you are a prepper just go get your’s out of your go bag. Tell all your neighbors, too!

    • I was assuming that when they cut the electricity that it would take down all the microwave communications towers in the area which would make the phones useless. Perhaps that’s not the case though.

  • This is just a COVERUP for the DEW (Directional Energy Weapons) that was used on this area last year and will be USED AGAIN this year causing strange fires in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep. It’s just another PLANNED agenda for removing people from the lane permanently….it’a part of Agenda 21…..

  • CalFires has been telling California residents that fire season will be year round now . So get used to it! The Rothschilds own a lot of energy companies and PG&E is one of them.

    Look at the Fisher Family. The ones that own Gap and Old Navy. They own tens of thousands of acres in Northern California. They are killing millions of tan oaks. Go to and find out why.

  • the preparations are no different than what we go through in hurricane country. It’s during the hot, humid summer, power may be out for weeks. But without all the extra issues such as property destruction, roads impassible, etc.

  • Before installing a whole house solar system with battery backup, better check if the power company in your area will even allow battery backup. Mine won’t, they require all houses with whole house solar systems be hooked into the grid, without backup, so they just feed into the general public power supply.

    That said, I strongly advocate smaller solar panels (with backup and knowledge about how to properly aim them) for running smaller electrical items. Another interesting project would be to build a solar cooker, you cam build them cheaply out of things like cardboard and aluminum foil, and they are a no brainer to have during a heat wave.

    Extra water will be needed for survival when the A/C isn’t available. Also, if you can, invest in some good curtains or drapes with an R factor, they will help keep sunlight from heating up your house as much. Remember, no fans, no A/C.

  • It’s not uncommon for these fires to be staged and false flags. Started by state-run arsonists for a planned outcome.

  • California continues to sink into a hopeless abyss of over regulation or ill directed regulations. Guess better than burn, baby burn, but residents may want to run out before they burn to death or are over come by heat stroke. And,, remember, illegal immigrants will receive more comfort than you—–the new socialist dems choice!!!

  • This is the same policy that Southern Cal Edison has been following for years, since they were accused of causing a fire, too. And it’s the direct result of left wing socialist policies. If the People’s Republic of CA didn’t blame every disaster on the nearest deep pocket, you wouldn’t have the power companies acting this way. And whatever happened to the illegal alien arsonist who was arrested for starting the fires? He disappeared from the headlines really fast. No deep pocket there.

    PG&E was accused of starting the fires within minutes of the fires starting by all the high powered (excuse the pun) lawyers in the effected area. How did they know THAT, did you ask yourself?

    Of course, the original problem is the socialized power generation industry. The utilities are essentially a fascist welfare program and taxing agency. Get the government completely out of the utility industry and the fascist corruption will end.

    PG&E is a mess, that’s for sure. But the financialization of the company courtesy of Wall Street and the big banks has more to do with the company’s problems than anything. PG&E has been off-shoring, h1b visa-ing and contracting out essentially activity for years. Not sure anyone in the company actually knows how to run the joint any more. I’d be willing to bet a pile of money that not one executive can explain any of the technology of power generation. But they can blow up a city block pretty effectively without even trying. As the saying goes, “And yet, you flip the switch, and the lights go on.” One wonders for how long that will be true.

    BTW, there are A LOT of people questioning the whole narrative about the fires last year, and for good reason. Maybe you shouldn’t fall for the mainstream socialist story so easily.

    My point is you have to dig a whole lot deep to understand the problems of the CA utility industry, and I doubt you’ve even tried.

  • Wow. I am stunned at this over-the-top article. You are a prepper? Seriously? You are getting advance warning of a need to prep and you are screaming about it? I would love advanced warning before we lose power. Power loss and rural living go hand-in-hand. It isn’t all idyllic scenery. There is isolation and, in sparsely populated areas, people are lucky to have a grid at all. You simply cannot expect affordable electricity in rural locations that is maintained up to big city standards. You get what you pay for. Cheap power means there is little profit in selling it in a sparsely populated area.

    Rather than make Stalinist claims (about a corporation, not a government) why not discuss what people in the affected areas can and should be doing to prep?

    Buy an appropriately sized generator for the electric loads you MUST maintain, or buy a canner and equipment and can the contents of the freezer, or move the freezer off site to an area not affected by this policy, or buy a dehydrator and dehydrate food. Or, move back to the city if you aren’t willing to deal with rural level preparedness.

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

    In the event of a long-term disaster, there are non-food essentials that can be vital to your survival and well-being. Make certain you have these 50 non-food stockpile essentials. Sign up for your FREE report and get prepared.

    We respect your privacy.
    Malcare WordPress Security