California - PG&E begins to cut power for up to 800,000 Customers

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Just returned from a quick visit to San Diego. Local radio there paints a damningly vivid picture of the electric power monopoly's role in California wildfires. Hardly liberal/anti-big business, KFI 640 in Los Angeles specifically characterizes most wildfire deaths in California as murder by a blindly profit-hungry PG&E.

With that perspective filling my ears, I drove east and saw skinny wooden power poles swaying in the wind, looking ancient, gray, dry and fragile - like tinder. This was all waving above parched yellow weeds and crisp, flammable ground cover. In my friend's community (Alpine, CA) the power was off and not expected to return for at least another day until the wind subsided.

Meanwhile, an electrical power expert I know opines that PG&E cannot be blamed for any fires, because any break in the line, or grounding to earth, will trip a reset and kill power until the line is repaired. I beg to differ, recalling more than a few times over decades around the SW hills of Portland seeing downed power lines whipping and sparking on the ground. Most impressive in the dark.

The big difference here would be that this normally happens during heavy rain, snow and ice storms.
 

USMC1911

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Just returned from a quick visit to San Diego. Local radio there paints a damningly vivid picture of the electric power monopoly's role in California wildfires. Hardly liberal/anti-big business, KFI 640 in Los Angeles specifically characterizes most wildfire deaths in California as murder by a blindly profit-hungry PG&E.

With that perspective filling my ears, I drove east and saw skinny wooden power poles swaying in the wind, looking ancient, gray, dry and fragile - like tinder. This was all waving above parched yellow weeds and crisp, flammable ground cover. In my friend's community (Alpine, CA) the power was off and not expected to return for at least another day until the wind subsided.

Meanwhile, an electrical power expert I know opines that PG&E cannot be blamed for any fires, because any break in the line, or grounding to earth, will trip a reset and kill power until the line is repaired. I beg to differ, recalling more than a few times over decades around the SW hills of Portland seeing downed power lines whipping and sparking on the ground. Most impressive in the dark.

The big difference here would be that this normally happens during heavy rain, snow and ice storms.
He's not totally wrong. The line is protected several ways. Fused cutouts are the main source of protection on smaller distribution lines like you would see in most neighborhoods. Large transmission lines and to a lesser extent distribution are all controlled by large switches inside a substation. Problem is it can sometime see a fault as just extra load and not trip the reclosure. I feel sorry for all the people affected by the outages. But where there is chaos there is money. I just got to San Diego and currently working on SDGE property.
 
OP
ATCclears

ATCclears

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Got comms?...


from this WSJ article on October 30, 2019:

Power shutdowns in the state meant to prevent further fire risk have cut power to some cell towers, as well as to cable providers that sell home voice services along with television programming and internet access. The shutdowns have left hundreds of thousands of customers cut off from emergency alerts, loved ones and in some cases, access to 911.

Even redundancy measures by carriers and tower companies have been inadequate for delivering wired and wireless communications services amid dayslong outages. Some wireless companies have deployed teams to refuel generators or transported backup generators from other states because they have become harder to source. Refueling can be difficult or dangerous in some areas.

 

nwslopoke

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It's here. It's everywhere. But it's around the calendar in California. If it's not burning, it's sliding. Those used to be seasonal but it seems the more in touch Ca gets with the environment the worse things get.

They used to keep up or at least not lag too far behind infrastructure. Gaging by the condition of LAX, that stopped somewhere around 1980. All those mice, frogs and critters they try to save by preventing brush/forest clean up burn anyway when the fires come.

Too bad Californians have been duped over the years into trusting slick politicians like their current governor. Instead of being scared he's strutting around like it's Monday. Nothing to see here. Move along.
 

ZigZagZeke

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I dug out a single phase 200A transfer switch yesterday that I've had in storage for years. I'm going to put in a 100A sub panel, fed through one side of that switch off the 200A main service. I'm then going to move all of the 120V circuits, and maybe the water heater, off the 200A main panel onto the 100A sub panel. That way I can hook up a 10KW generator to the other side of the transfer switch and power all the low power circuits in the house with the generator during an extended outage. We've had two week long outages in the last 4 years. We can heat with wood and cook on the wood stove, but it sure would be nice to have lights and refrigeration during an extended outage. It doesn't need to be a 100A sub panel, but I'm going to wire it that way. I could get by with probably a 60A panel, but extra capacity is always nice if things change down the road.
 

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